Eco energy‎ > ‎

Wind energy

posted 14 Feb 2010, 00:11 by Toby Roscoe   [ updated 14 Feb 2010, 00:20 ]

In many areas of the UK energy captured from the wind has great potential to offer a sustainable supply of electricity, whether produced by a large wind farm or a smaller domestic turbine. As with other types of renewable energy, upfront costs are often seen as a disincentive, but there are now excellent schemes for interest-free loans and Government grants on the cost of equipment and installation.

In planning a wind generator the first thing to consider is whether your site is suitable and are you likely to be granted planning permission form your local council? The good news is that the national government’s obligations to the sustainable development objectives of the European Union mean that planning offices are finding it harder to refuse permission for micro-generation of renewable energy.

Unfortunately, refreshing changes to government policy cannot bring constantly gusting winds, so it is important to analyse the characteristics of the wind at your site to make sure that your wind turbine will create a viable amount of energy for your use. For information check out these links:

General enquiries: Energy Saving Trust

Private buildings: Low Carbon Buildings Phase One

Public buildings: Low Carbon Buildings Phase Two 

If you have grant scheme details for your country, state, province or territory please email us, we’d love to be able to make the information accessible to everyone by posting them here.

More info from Wikipedia:

The Earth is unevenly heated by the sun, such that the poles receive less energy from the sun than the equator; along with this, dry land heats up (and cools down) more quickly than the seas do. The differential heating drives a globalatmospheric convection system reaching from the Earth's surface to the stratosphere which acts as a virtual ceiling. Most of the energy stored in these wind movements can be found at high altitudes where continuous wind speeds of over 160 km/h (99 mph) occur. Eventually, the wind energy is converted through friction into diffuse heat throughout the Earth's surface and the atmosphere.

The total amount of economically extractable power available from the wind is considerably more than present human power use from all sources.[8] An estimated 72 terawatt (TW) of wind power on the Earth potentially can be commercially viable,[9] compared to about 15 TW average global power consumption from all sources in 2005. Not all the energy of the wind flowing past a given point can be recovered (see Betz' law).

There are now many thousands of wind turbines operating, with a total nameplate capacity of 157,899 MW of which wind power in Europe accounts for 48% (2009). World wind generation capacity more than quadrupled between 2000 and 2006, doubling about every three years. 81% of wind power installations are in the US and Europe. The share of the top five countries in terms of new installations fell from 71% in 2004 to 62% in 2006, but climbed to 73% by 2008 as those countries—the United States, Germany, Spain, China, and India—have seen substantial capacity growth in the past two years (see chart).

By 2010, the World Wind Energy Association expects 160 GW of capacity to be installed worldwide,[55]up from 73.9 GW at the end of 2006, implying an anticipated net growth rate of more than 21% per year.

Denmark generates nearly one-fifth of its electricity with wind turbines—the highest percentage of any country—and is ninth in the world in total wind power generation. Denmark is prominent in the manufacturing and use of wind turbines, with a commitment made in the 1970s to eventually produce half of the country's power by wind.

In recent years, the US has added more wind energy to its grid than any other country, with a growth in power capacity of 45% to 16.8 GW in 2007[56] and surpassing Germany's nameplate capacity in 2008.California was one of the incubators of the modern wind power industry, and led the U.S. in installed capacity for many years; however, by the end of 2006, Texas became the leading wind power state andcontinues to extend its lead. At the end of 2008, the state had 7,116 MW installed, which would have ranked it sixth in the world if Texas was a separate country. Iowa and Minnesota each grew to more than 1 GW installed by the end of 2007; in 2008 they were joined by Oregon, Washington, and Colorado.[57]Wind power generation in the U.S. was up 31.8% in February, 2007 from February, 2006.[58] The average output of one MW of wind power is equivalent to the average electricity consumption of about 250 American households. According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind will generate enough electricity in 2008 to power just over 1% (equivalent to 4.5 million households) of total electricity in U.S., up from less than 0.1% in 1999. U.S. Department of Energy studies have concluded wind harvested in the Great Plains states of Texas, Kansas, and North Dakota could provide enough electricity to power the entire nation, and that offshore wind farms could do the same job.[59][60] In addition, the wind resource over and around the Great Lakes, recoverable with currently available technology, could by itself provide 80% as much power as the U.S. and Canada currently generate from non-renewable resources,[61] with Michigan's share alone equating to one third of current U.S. electricity demand.[62]

China had originally set a generating target of 30,000 MW by 2020 from renewable energy sources, but reached 22,500 MW by end of 2009 and could easily surpass 30,000 MW by end of 2010. Indigenous wind power could generate up to 253,000 MW.[63] A Chinese renewable energy law was adopted in November 2004, following the World Wind Energy Conference organized by the Chinese and the World Wind Energy Association. By 2008, wind power was growing faster in China than the government had planned, and indeed faster in percentage terms than in any other large country, having more than doubled each year since 2005. Policymakers doubled their wind power prediction for 2010, after the wind industry reached the original goal of 5 GW three years ahead of schedule.[64] Current trends suggest an actual installed capacity near 20 GW by 2010, with China shortly thereafter pursuing the United States for the world wind power lead.[64]

India ranks 5th in the world with a total wind power capacity of 9,587 MW in 2008,[1] or 3% of all electricity produced in India. The World Wind Energy Conference in New Delhi in November 2006 has given additional impetus to the Indian wind industry.[55] Muppandal village in Tamil Nadu state, India, has several wind turbine farms in its vicinity, and is one of the major wind energy harnessing centres in India led by majors like SuzlonVestasMicon among others.[65][66]

Mexico recently opened La Venta II wind power project as an important step in reducing Mexico's consumption of fossil fuels. The 88 MW project is the first of its kind in Mexico, and will provide 13 percent of the electricity needs of the state of Oaxaca. By 2012 the project will have a capacity of 3500 MW.

Another growing market is Brazil, with a wind potential of 143 GW.[67] The federal government has created an incentive program, called Proinfa,[68] to build production capacity of 3300 MW of renewable energy for 2008, of which 1422 MW through wind energy. The program seeks to produce 10% of Brazilian electricity through renewable sources.

South Africa has a proposed station situated on the West Coast north of the Olifants River mouth near the town of Koekenaap, east of Vredendal in the Western Cape province. The station is proposed to have a total output of 100 MW although there are negotiations to double this capacity. The plant could be operational by 2010.

France has announced a target of 12,500 MW installed by 2010, though their installation trends over the past few years suggest they'll fall well short of their goal.

Canada experienced rapid growth of wind capacity between 2000 and 2006, with total installed capacity increasing from 137 MW to 1,451 MW, and showing an annual growth rate of 38%.[69] Particularly rapid growth was seen in 2006, with total capacity doubling from the 684 MW at end-2005.[70] This growth was fed by measures including installation targets, economic incentives and political support. For example, the Ontario government announced that it will introduce a feed-in tariff for wind power, referred to as 'Standard Offer Contracts', which may boost the wind industry across the province.[71] In Quebec, the provincially owned electric utility plans to purchase an additional 2000 MW by 2013.[72]. By 2025, Canada will reach its capacity of 55,000 MW of wind energy, or 20% of the country's energy needs.