With the increase in the global energy crisis, it is our social responsibility to consider saving energy. This will be useful for our future generations through a sustainable energy management program. The world is gradually shifting to environment-friendly energy sources as well. A common example can be seen of electric cars which are soon going to take over combustion engines.
Nonetheless, a major proportion of all the electricity produced is still being done with non-renewable energy sources such as thermal power plants which are operated in several countries. A more reliable and long-lasting solution to cater for the rising electricity requirements is Windmills.
What are Windmills?
In simpler terms, a windmill is a machine that uses high-speed winds to generate electricity. This is made possible when the wind helps in rotating the blades of a windmill thereby creating rotational energy that is used to create electricity. There are several popular windmill parks in different parts of the world including the US.
Common examples include Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm, San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm, and Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. Windmills are considered as one of the most renewable sources of energy.
How does Wind Energy get to You?
Electricity is generated from the wind energy when the turbines rotate. The electricity which is generated is transferred from a wind farm to a power grid which helps in further transmission to households and commercial businesses.
Different types of transmission and distribution lines are used to collect the electricity which is generated. The network is well planned and then further segregated into smaller distribution lines to deliver electricity directly to the households.
Types of Windmills
Modern-day windmills can be defined into three categories. There are utility-scale windmill parks that are designed for the purpose of generating mass electricity. They are perhaps the most common and highly powered wind turbines which can generate electricity from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts. This system uses a power grid and transmission lines as mentioned above to supply the electricity to the end-users.
Secondly, there are small wind turbines that are not connected to a grid and useful for supplying basic electric power to a small household, a farm, or other associated individual requirements.
Lastly, the most modern concept in the case of windmills is the offshore wind turbines. Since windmills require a strong airflow to effectively run and generate the maximum amount of electricity, it becomes quite effective to place offshore winds which are based on the shores where high-speed winds are flowing almost all the time. However, it is more expensive to implement for one time which is why there are more utility-scale windmills rather than offshore wind turbines.
History of Windmills
One might assume that windmills were something created with technological innovation and scientific advancement. However, the history of windmills dates back to the 9th century during the medieval periods. These were horizontal ones mainly used in Greater Iran. Vertical Windmills became a concept in the 12th century in central Europe.
The windmills started to become popular from the 14th century and onwards when governments and authorities decided to set up windmill parks in areas where there was little water, or the land had freezing temperatures making it impossible to generate any kind of hydro-electric power. In 1850, the number of active windmills reached 200,000, a number which was considered quite high considering the lack of technology and availability of efficient resources at the time.
With the increase in the number of windmills, there was an added level of research and development in the field. In 1979, modern wind turbines were introduced which not only had better electricity production mechanisms but required even lower maintenance than the ones that were being used prior.
Many people don’t know that they can have a windmill set up right at their home. All you need is ample space at a greater height, and you can generate your electricity. Sounds like a plan for saving on your monthly costs!
Today, the small windmills can generate about 20–30 kW each. Multiple windmills are established at one windmill park to generate an ample amount of electricity. The larger wind turbines have the capacity to generate electricity up to 7 Megawatts which is 7000 kilowatts.
Facts You Didn’t Know About Wind Power
Windmill surely has become one of the most interesting topics of the century when people are more concerned for sustainable usage of the different types of resources. The USA is one of the countries which is actively pursuing Wind Power. By the end of 2020, wind power capacity in the US has crossed 106 megawatts and further setups are being established as well. That is more than enough for about 30 million average households in America.
You might be aware of the fact that a windmill is tall at about 200 to 295 feet. But did you know that some of the tallest windmills in the world are as long as some of the famous architectural monuments? They can range as tall as the “Statue of Liberty” of New York.
A wind turbine may look like a simple machine that is revolving with the help of wind. However, it is the job of 8000 individual components that help in generating electricity while ensuring that the windmill is running successfully causing no errors or disruption in the electricity production.
Wind Energy is one of the industries in the USA and other parts of the world which has growing employment opportunities and prospects. In the USA alone, the industry has employed more than 115,000 people and the number is expected to grow due to the possible increase expected in the case of Windmills.
Advantages of Wind Power
The primary benefit of wind power generation is that it is environmentally friendly. It creates no pollution and there is no damage to our ozone layer. This is one of the main reasons why pressure groups and different types of regulatory organizations have been forced to shift to better and renewable sources of energy like wind power.
Moreover, there are very low costs of operating a windmill park. Since the modern turbines require lower maintenance, it becomes quite cheap to manage one.
In case there is a large piece of farmland, it can be used for farming and windmills both because a windmill utilizes very low space. As a result, there is efficient land management, and land used by windmills can also be used for other purposes.
Windmills are also one of the rising sources of generating electrical power. As a result, there is an increase in the number of jobs for the people which helps in reducing unemployment for many rural areas where windmills are usually set up.
Lastly, windmills can be easily set up at one’s home as well. Neither do they require technical knowledge nor any major experience. It saves you a lot of time, hassle, and with just a one-time effort, you get infinite amounts of electrical power for very minimal costs.
Disadvantages of Wind Power
Despite the fact that wind power is quite beneficial and there is work being done to ensure that it is further promoted, it has some disadvantages as well which need to be considered. Primarily, it relates to the investment. Although, the running costs are very low and might not even matter in the majority of cases, yet the one-time investment is a very substantial cost. Governments and authorities have to make a big and separate cut when they are establishing a windmill park.
Secondly, there is a high fluctuation in the energy that is created. Take the example of a hydro-electric power dam. Experts are aware of how much water is coming from the different sources as well as reservoirs are also there to meet any shortages of water.
However, in the case of a windmill, there is no guarantee of having the wind flow at a fast or stable pace. If the wind blows fast, there will be high electricity generation. If there is no wind, there shall be no electricity either. Due to this reason, windmill parks are established at places that are usually having high-speed winds all year round to ensure maximum power is gained.
We know that wind power is one of the most sustainable sources of generating power. It saves the environment but guess what? It creates a potential hazard for the environment too. Since the wind blades rotate at high speeds, there is a chance that any birds might get in the way and may end up killing them. In addition to that, sometimes areas of natural habitat might have to be cleared up so that windmills can be set up for once.
After reading this article, we are sure you might have learned a lot about windmills that you didn’t know probably. We know it is one of the most effective and efficient sources of creating energy, but it has a few drawbacks as well which have to be considered. However, in general, we believe that windmills are going to be the most suitable way for creating environmentally friendly electrical energy in the future.
If you have been wondering about how the power stations have been working and when they came into existence, there is quite useful information over here – History of the Power Plant.
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