Winds are produced by horizontal displacement of hot air to cold air’s position (or vice versa) due to uneven solar heating of the atmosphere, uneven elevation of the Earth’s surface and Earth’s rotation in its orbit. However, winds are also affected by bodies of water, vegetative cover, local topography, and weather patterns (Guey-Lee, 2004). The solar rays received by the Earth make its surface warmer, as well as its atmosphere especially those parts of the Earth near the equator.
On the other hand, some parts of the globe receive lesser radiation, so the atmospheric temperature is lower. Technically speaking, warm air rises because it s less dense than colder air. Because of this, the cooler air travels and replaces the position of rising warm air. This makes the wind blows. At daytime, the air just above the land surface warms up quickly more than the ocean surface and expands; thus, making it to rise far above the atmosphere. The cooler air, from the ocean, travels and rushes to replace the rising warm air.
This phenomenon is the sea breeze that soothes the warm environment during hotter season. Conversely, at night time, land breeze occurs as the colder air from land surface replaces the hotter air just above the ocean surface. Wind is a renewable energy source because it is replaceable as long as the sun shines and causes it to blow (Energy Information Administration, 2005). Ever since the ancient people have discovered the uses of wheel, wind energy has been harnessed for mainly in agriculture and overseas exploration. In Egypt, as early as 200 B. C.
, winds are advantageous in sailing ships in Nile River for commercial trade and transportation. As the times go by, it has been valuable to windmills in grinding wheat and other grains. The earliest known windmills were in Persia (now Iran) (Energy Information Administration, 2005). From the paddle-wheel-type of windmill, the people of Holland enhanced it giving propeller blades. Windmills are used, not only to grind grains, but also to pump water from lower elevation and cut woods. In late 1920s, windmills harnessed to generate power in rural areas in America.
But when power lines became useful in 1930s for electricity transmission, its used became unpopular, especially in far farms and ranches. A catastrophe happened that bring back the importance on windmill industry in generating electricity in bigger part of America. It was in 1970s when oil shortages happened and encouraged the value of utilizing renewable energy sources. For instance, the state of California supported the development of wind power industry until it produced wind energy more than the other states in America during that time.
After then, wind farms and wind parks became popular for wind power production as it replaces the expensive power production like burning fossil fuels. 2. 3 Wind Power Wind power is the harnessed wind energy usually used to generate electricity or mechanical power through conversion of wind’s current as opposed by the wind turbine blades into electrical current using generator. To generate much wind power, a number of wind machines are needed to form a cluster called wind power plants (or wind farms).
These wind farms usually generate power to supply electricity to thousand of homes in rural areas or grid-isolated locations. Usually, these are owned and managed by private utility companies known as Independent Power Producers (Energy Information Administration, 2005). Additionally, wind energy is used in converting mechanical machinery to carry out physical work, like grinding grain or pumping water from lower elevations. However, higher wind power is not always guaranteed in building wind farms in windy place.
The location where to place wind machines is very important because it affects how fast and how much wind blows in a certain area. Wind speed greatly varies with elevation and number of obstructions in the surrounding. Better locations that can be considered are the tops of smooth, rounded hills, open plains or shorelines, and mountain gaps that produce wind funneling (Energy Information Administration, 2005). 2. 3. 1 Advantages Wind energy is plentiful, reusable, widely distributed, clean ; non-polluting, and may reduce greenhouse gas emissions if used to replace fossil-fuel-derived electricity.
Compared to other forms of energy, wind energy is relatively cheaper because it uses no fuel for continuing operation and relies solely on wind which is free and renewable. It’s continuing operation does not produce carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, mercury, particulates, or any other type of air pollution, like conventional fossil fuel power sources do (Wind Power, 2007). Wind machines can be built on rural areas where land acquisition for construction is cheaper compared to urban areas. Since only a part of a farm or ranch can be utilized, the farmers can still continue working productively in the farm.
Thus, it is safe as long as properly maintained (Brouchkov, 2006). The materials used for its construction, like the concrete, steel and fiberglass, are not complicated and can easily be transported. Moreover, the design and construction of these are not to complex mechanically. 2. 3. 2 Disadvantages Noise is the major problem usually associated with wind turbine continuing operation. Because of this constant uncontrollable noise day and night, most of the private companies solved this problem by moving the turbines offshore, usually in the middle of the lake or river.
By this, more often in coastal areas, most wind turbines are built wherein the cost of land acquisition is expensive than inland locations. Wind is really naturally unpredictable. There are times that the wind blows lower than the other days. Although most companies chose much windy locations, it is still might not windy as always. Some people treat these giant wind machines as visually intrusive and aesthetically disturbing (Wind Power, 2007). Along with this, the television reception is affected within a range.
The negative impact on bird population is seen as a serious drawback on wind machines construction. Some flock of birds are killed when accidentally flew into the rotors on the wind turbine (Energy Information Administration, 2005). Hence, the paths of bird migration are greatly affected. Because of these, special color scheme on the turbine blades and slower turbine blades motion are considered to solve this problem. But, it is expected that the harnessed wind energy would be affected. Not only are the birds affected but also the bat population.