What is wind energy? What is wind energy pros and cons and why is it considered one of the most important renewable energies on our planet? Wind energy is what we obtain thanks to the wind, a natural element present on our planet and able to generate a quantity of alternative energy to that produced by fossil fuels. For this reason, wind energy is one of the most widely used renewable sources of energy in countries that want to invest in environmental sustainability and alternative systems of energy production.
Wind energy: what it is and how it works
When we talk about wind energy we often think of a recent discovery, but the history of this energy source is very old, it began as early as 3000 BC and is related to navigation. Wind energy is the basis of the movement of sailing boats, which were used for trade and transport of people and materials. A further step in the history of wind energy, occurs with the birth of the windmill, which dates back to 2,000 BC in ancient Babylon and was used as a tool for the production of flour.
Today, if we think of wind energy, we immediately think of that system of wind turbines that at first glance resembles a windmill and is called a wind turbine. In fact, the operation is the same and is based on what is called a wind turbine. The wind blade is a rotating blade that in technical jargon is called “sail system”, this blade is opposed to the power of the wind and forced to rotate, thus generating kinetic energy. The wind turbines are then connected to a rotor that transfers the mechanical energy of rotation to the shaft (this is the name of the shaft that supports the wind turbines of the system) and finally to the electric generator that is located near the shaft.
The operation of a wind turbine is based on the rotary movement: when the wind makes the blades spin, the rotor turns the shaft that in turn will drive the generator by transferring the necessary energy that will be transformed into electricity. Although at first glance the mechanism of operation may seem very simple, in reality there are several components of the system that need to be properly assembled to make sure that the wind turbine and the generator run. The main components are: the nacelle (heart of the system), the rotor, the support tower, the measuring systems (used to correctly configure the entire machine), the control systems (monitor the proper functioning of the machine) and the accessory systems (allow you to optimize the use of the wind turbine).
wind energy pros and cons
There are already many positive advantages to be gained from wind energy. It is easy to use. It is transformable and constantly available; in addition, in ancient times it was more onerous than the use of working animals. At that time, the only possible negative factor was the absence of wind, which could cause a block on production, which was then replaced by working animals. Today what are called “wind farms”have many positive and the more logical ones: availability, ease of use and transformation of energy, and constancy.
It is certainly important that the transformation itself does not have climate-changing emissions such as those resulting from chemical energy transformations (although the supply chain cannot be considered emission-free). Production is much more constant than other renewable sources such as photovoltaics, which can only produce during the day, or hydropower, which depends on seasonality and precipitation. There are certainly positive points in terms of the life of machinery, clearly easier to dismantle and recycle than fossil power plants, despite the fact that the life of a turbine is 20-25 years.
Although it may seem difficult to find disadvantages for an energy source as clean and inexhaustible as wind energy, there are special conditions to be respected for a wind farm to ensure the production of clean energy at an efficient cost. If we have a wind farm with large wind turbines, to be effective, it is necessary that the wind has a regular direction and that it exceeds 12 km/h. A further disadvantage related to wind is the fact that, being an atmospheric condition, it remains unpredictable, so it will not be possible to accurately estimate a plan of return on investment. In environmental terms, large wind farms have a strong impact on the landscape and are visible from long distances. They also pose a danger to some species of nocturnal birds of prey that cannot visually recognise wind turbines.
Renewable energies are important for the future of our planet. Renewable energy sources are forms of energy derived from inexhaustible sources (sun, wind, water, biomass, geothermal, etc..) compared to traditional energy sources have important advantages in terms of environmental, economic and health. The production of energy from fossil fuels or nuclear energy has major impacts and negative aspects from an environmental point of view, representing one of the first causes of global warming due to the increase and release of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, causing the phenomenon of acid rain due to the release of responsible sulfur dioxide, and determining high risks of pollution of the subsoil and aquifers as a result of the problems of management and storage of radioactive waste.
Pollutants produced by nuclear energy and/or the use of fossil fuels can cause enormous damage to the environment as well as to the health of living beings, causing or promoting the onset of cancer, lung and heart diseases, malformations and neurological disorders. On the contrary, renewables have a much lower environmental and health impact, are locally sustainable and represent an inexhaustible source of energy as it is renewed in very short cycles compared with those of fossil fuels. The use and production of energy from renewable sources can ensure a stable supply of energy, covering the peaks of energy needs by reducing dependence on foreign energy suppliers, helps to contain energy costs by stabilizing the purchase prices of energy thus promoting economic development and resulting in a positive impact on employment, and industry.