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Wind Energy

Caroline Camp and


Carolyn Stoughton
HISTORICAL OVERVIEW
Sailing Windmills Wind Turbines
TECHNOLOGY
Kinetic Energy of Wind g e n e r ator

Electricity
Mechanics: Two Types of Turbines
Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

● Most common type


● Have blades like is the Darrieus wind
airplane propellers turbine, named after
● Largest ones are as the engineer
tall as a 20 story ● Looks like a giant
building with egg beater
blades 100 feet ● Some can be 100
long feet tall and 50 feet
● Most turbines wide
currently are ● Not as effective, so
horizontal axis not widely used

The size of the blades is the main factor in determining how much electricity the turbine can
produce. Turbines are grouped into wind farms to provide a large amount of power to power grids.
Availability
● Depends on how fast and how often the wind blows, so there is
variability
● But, this variability can be addressed because grid operators keep
power in reserve to deal with surges and drops in demand
● The wind is always blowing somewhere, so distributing wind turbines
across a broad geographic area helps smooth out the variability of the
resource.
● One of the world's largest wind farms, the Horse Hollow Wind Energy
Center in Texas, has about 430 wind turbines spread over about
47,000 acres. The project has a combined electricity generating
capacity of about 735 megawatts (or 735,000 kW).
Onshore vs. Offshore
● Less expensive than offshore
● Easier to maintain
● Greater visual disturbance

Onshore
● Wind speeds tend to be faster - you can generate more energy
● Wind speeds tend to be steadier
● Many coastal areas have high energy needs because this is where
population is concentrated
● Installation of cables under sea floor to transport electricity back to
land (can be costly)

Offshore
ENVIRONMENTAL
Low Impact Compared to Fossil Fuels
● Does not use combustion to generate electricity, so it does not produce harmful air
emissions.
● No particulate matter is produced (nitrogen oxides and sulfur dioxide).
● Nothing that produces smog, acid rain, or greenhouse gasses.
● Leaves the land relatively undisturbed, so natural habitats and human activity can
continue underneath them
● In 2017, wind energy generation reduced water consumption at existing power plants by
approximately 95 billion gallons—the equivalent of 723 billion bottles of water.

reduces carbon emissions, saves billions of gallons of water a year,


and cuts pollutions that creates smog and triggers asthma
Wind Energy Reduces Carbon Dioxide Emissions

credit to AWEA
Wind Energy Conserves Water

credit to AWEA
There are concerns over:

Death of Birds and


Noise Visual Impact Bats
Birds and bats can fly into
Noise is produced by rotors Wind turbines are often
the rotors and die
when they move highly visible, and some may
find them unsightly
However, many farms have
New designs, however, operated for years without
create less noise by Ultimately, their aesthetic
impacting bird and bat
minimizing blade surface appearance is subjective
populations.
imperfections and using and comes down to what
sound absorbing materials you are willing to sacrifice
Careful site selection is
for clean energy
needed to minimize fatalities
Proper sitting decisions can
minimize visibility
SOCIAL
Economics

● Cheap-costs between 2 and 6


cents per kilowatt-hour
● Jobs are created
○ 100,000 people employed in
U.S. wind sector in 2016
○ Wind turbine technicians is
2nd fastest growing
occupation
○ Sometimes temporary
● Income for farmers-charge
companies rent
Health

● Clean fuel-->no pollution-->less health


problems
● Noise-related health problems
○ Anxiety, headaches, sleep
disturbance, tired, decreased
quality of life
● Turbines should be at an appropriate
length away from people
Indigenous Communities

● Government-owned land-lack of collaboration


● Lack of consultation in native language
● Most companies do not have due diligence practices
Displacement
FUTURE OUTLOOK
Rapid Growth

With increasingly
competitive prices,
growing environmental
concerns, and the call
to reduce dependence
on foreign energy
sources, a strong
future for wind power
seems certain.

credit to AWEA
In terms of societal impacts,
there needs to be changes to
the process of implementation
so that all communities
involved benefit.
A Viable Alternative to Fossil Fuels

Wind is abundant, inexhaustible, and affordable, making it


a viable alternative to fossil fuels that can significantly reduce carbon

emissions to secure a better future for the environment.


Citations
American Wind Energy Association. (2016). U.S. number one in the world in wind energy production. Retrieved from
https://www.awea.org/resources/news/2016/u-s-number-one-in-the-world-in-wind-energy-product
Bureau of Labor Statistics. (2018). Fastest growing occupations. Retrieved from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm
Business & Human Rights Resource Centre. (2016). Press release: 50 renewable energy companies’ human rights policies & records examined. Retrieved from
https://www.business-humanrights.org/en/report-services-coordinator-at-gri/press-release-50-renewable-energy-companies%E2%80%99-human-rights-pol
icies-records-examined
Friede, S. (2016). Enticed by the wind: A case study in the social and historical context of wind energy development in southern Mexico. Retrieved from
https://www.wilsoncenter.org/sites/default/files/mi_151220_enticed_by_wind_v4.pdf
How Wind Energy Works. (2019). Retrieved from https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/renewable-energy/how-wind-energy-works#bf-toc-0
Jeffery, R. D., Krogh, C., & Horner, B. (2013). Adverse health effects of industrial wind turbines. Canadian Family Physician, 59(5), 473–475.
Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy. (n.d.). Advantages and challenges of wind energy. Retrieved from
https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/advantages-and-challenges-wind-energy
Shah, R. & Bloomer, P. (2018). Respecting the rights of indigenous peoples as renewable energy grows. Stanford Social Innovation Review. Retrieved from
https://ssir.org/articles/entry/respecting_the_rights_of_indigenous_peoples_as_renewable_energy_grows#
Smil, V. (2006). Energy: A beginner’s guide. Oxford, England: Oneworld Publications.
Union of Concerned Scientists. (n.d.). How wind energy works. Retrieved from https://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/renewable-energy/how-wind-energy-works
U.S. Energy Information Administration. (2018). History of wind power. Retrieved from https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/index.php?page=wind_history
Wind Energy Development Programmatic EIS. (n.d.). Wind energy development environmental concerns. Retrieved from windeis.anl.gov/guide/concern/index.cfm