With talk of global warming, pollution and depleted natural resources, additional energy sources are a necessity. Greenhouses gas emissions are a real concern and even automobile manufacturers are developing more hybrid and alternative fuel cars to cut harmful emissions. Power companies have historically used coal, natural gas, petroleum and hydroelectric power plants to generate electricty, however, most of these methods produce pollutants or are expensive to use. For this reason, researchers looked into a new, non-polluting and less expensive method. They developed a way to harness wind and turn it into enough electricity to power a city.
Wind turbines are basically large windmills, with huge blades that turn in the wind and produce energy from the conversion of the wind’s power. Since wind is required, the turbines are located along ridge lines or in canyons. The turbines are non-polluting and use a generator that produces an electrical current. The ‘wind farms’ as they are known, can range from small scale or can consist of hundreds of turbines. Since they don’t produce greenhouse gases or noise pollution, the farms are an excellent way to use a renewable resource, the wind.
The turbines can be utilized in conjunction with other types of power so that electricity production isn’t limited to windy days. This still reduces the reliance on the traditional power plants. The only draw back to the wind farms is that they require a large area of land and can be seen from miles around. However, once the turbines are installed, the land can still be used by wildlife and vegetation will again move in after construction. Some of the countries that use wind power are the United States, Germany, France, Spain and about nine other countries through out the world.
There are several different types of turbines used. The most common is the one with large rotating blades like old fashioned windmills, but there are other kinds, too. One has two blades that are attached at the top and bottom of a pole and are bowed out toward the center, one on either side of the pole. When the wind blows, the blades rotate with the pole.
Using wind power is also a lot less expensive than petroleum or coal. The major cost is the price of the turbine, generator, replacement parts and regular maintenance. There aren’t too many disadvantages to using wind turbines to generate electricity, and as times goes by, it’s likely that more and more cities will begin developing wind power systems for their residents and businesses. As people become more aware and concerned about pollution, global warming and the use of natural resources, wind power will hopefully be used in all cities.