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spacer.gif   Energy Matters : Wind Energy Essay
Posted by: Anonymous on Monday, November 25, 2002 - 06:20 PM
Energy Matters The sight of an almost endless range of wind generators as you travel towards Palm Springs, California, is one where you just have to pull over and stop, and look either in awe or in horror!

The wind-tunnel effect offered by the San Gorgonio Pass certainly meets the requirements for the location of wind farms, with a high average wind speed during the year, and has the potential to supply many southern californians with a 'clean' supply of electricity, free of the emission of carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide which are the result of generating electricity from burning fossil fuels.

There are drawbacks to such a development. The wind turbines use up large areas of land, since there has to be a reasonable space between the turbines for each to retain a high conversion efficiency from kinetic energy to electrical energy. Yet, the increased efficiency and improved technology has led to an actual reduction of turbines, even though the output has increased. Whether you consider the actual presence of the turbines to be a visual form of pollution, or a technological marvel with its own intrinsic beauty in a natural location, the sight of these thousands of turbines across the valley certainly cannot be ignored.

The basic principle of generating electricity by the use of a wind turbine involves the conversion of kinetic energy of the moving air (wind) into electrical energy. The movement of air past the blades forces them to rotate. This rotational movement is used to change the magnetic feld within a set of coils. This change of magnetic field results in a voltage appearing across the coils. This principle is known as electromagnetic induction.

Since the air must move past the blades for the operation of the blades, then there is no way the windmills can ever reach 100% efficiency, since the total amount of kinetic energy of the air cannot be extracted. This fact even applies to a 'perfect' turbine where no energy conversion into heat would occur.

The new scenery looks distinctly different from the broken windmills of the late 1980's, neglected by their owners and damaged by the sand-laden winds through of the San Gorgonio Pass. The new wind farms use more advanced technology and are more efficient than the predecessors, and are kept in fine running order by the wind farm owners. The greater power output and efficiency of the new machines has resulted in a reduction of the number of the machines since the late 1980's.

The future of the development of the wind farms is largely dependent of whether Congress will continue with its tax credit advantages for those organisations willing to invest in wind-energy farms. Without the federal tax credit , the electricity generated from wind-energy would still be more expensive than from fossil powered stations. To produce 1 kilowatt-hour of electrical energy ( the energy required to run a 1 kW device for 1 hour) costs 4 to 5.5 cents by wind-power. This is reduced to 2.5 to 4 cents by the application of 1.5 cent per kWh tax credit. This make it comparable to the 2.5 to 4 cents per kWh required for generation of electricity from fossil-powered stations.

The future of the wind farms is also largely dictated by the choice of the source of electricity by consumers of electricity. Since April 1st 1998 , Californians have been able to choose their supplier of electricity.

Wind-energy organisations in the valley sell their electrical power to Southern Californian Edison or to a growing number of 'green-energy ' wholesalers, who then sell the electrical energy to consumers.

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Energy Matters : Wind Energy Essay | Login/Create an account | 1 Comment
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Re: Energy Matters : Wind Energy Essay (Score: 1)
by GwZnsWdMjn on Mar 19, 2009 - 02:41 PM

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