We explain what wind energy is and how it is produced. What is it for, advantages, disadvantages and examples of this renewable energy.
What is eolic energy?
Wind energy is that energy obtained by harnessing the force of the wind . Its name comes from the name of the wind god, Eolo , according to the mythology of ancient Greece.
The wind contains higher or lower rates of kinetic energy , which through a system of blades and turbines can be converted into electrical energy , in order to power cities , industrial complexes or rural homes. Especially in geographical regions of constant and intense winds, this renewable natural resource offers a relatively important, safe and ecological performance.
Wind energy, like solar, is part of the set of “green” or ecological energies that are more environmentally friendly , at least compared to other very polluting ones such as burning fossil fuels. That is why the installation of wind farms throughout the world has become widespread in recent decades, facing the environmental alarm of climate change .
These wind farms are usually built on the sea coast, where their yield is higher (although their costs are higher), as well as in plains and large plains where the wind is constant and considerable. Around 5% of the world’s electricity generation is obtained from these sites, and countries like Denmark meet with them around 25% of their energy needs.
How is wind energy produced?
The uneven heating of the earth’s surface by sunlight generates changes in the pressure and temperature of the air masses that naturally produce winds. These air masses , when moving, can mobilize the blades of the wind generators, which are basically mills, only instead of transforming the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy to grind the wheat, they do it in electrical energy that serves multiple applications.
This happens because when moving the propeller blades, driven by the wind, rotate the rotor of a generator, which together with an alternator, produce a constant electric charge . These devices are called wind turbine generators , and many similar installations are usually needed, since their production is relatively low.
What is wind energy for?
Wind energy can be transformed into electricity , which already represents a huge utility: light, heat, power various appliances, etc . Electricity is today an indispensable input of human civilization.
However, it is also wind energy that is transformed into mechanical energy to grind wheat and other grains in traditional mills, or even to pump water . Recall that wind is one of the most ancient forms of energy.
Advantages of wind energy
The advantages of this type of energy are:
- Cleaning . It is a moderately ecological way of obtaining energy, since beyond the installation of wind farms, which can ruin the landscape somewhat , they produce no atmospheric or other pollutants.
- Security . Wind farms do not present the short and long-term risks of nuclear energy , nor do they represent damage to health . There have been reports of discomfort from the noise that these devices generate when rotating daily, and that is why their installation in moderately remote regions is preferred.
- It is renewable . The wind is an inexhaustible and natural source of energy.
- Land use . Wind farms can live with crops or other types of land use, or even in regions that are not otherwise cultivable, such as deserts or maritime coasts or steep slopes.
- Cost . Wind technology is very economical compared to other ways of obtaining electricity.
Disadvantages of wind energy
The disadvantages of wind energy are:
- Unpredictability . The wind does not blow constantly with the same intensity, therefore the energy production is irregular and you cannot depend on it alone. It must be combined with some other method.
- Uneconomical . Wind energy will be clean and safe, but it is not very efficient. Large areas of land are required to implant numerous propellers and to produce considerable amounts of electricity.
- Environmental impact . While they do not pollute, wind farms disrupt the natural landscape and have an impact onlocal wildlife , such as migratory birds.
Examples of wind energy
There are known wind farms such as La Venta Wind Farm , located in Oaxaca, Mexico, which is made up of 104 wind turbines that provide about 85 Megawatts of electricity to the grid.
Another perfect example of wind use is the mills of La Mancha , Spain, considered national heritage and immortalized in the novel by Miguel de Cervantes Don Quijote de la Mancha , published in 1605.