Why is wind essential for zero emissions? (Video)
Wind is essential for our zero emission future because it is a clean, cost effective source of energy and can be built on existing farms, on land or at sea. Oh, yes – it’s renewable and infinite too. .
When humans moved from a nomadic existence to an agricultural existence, few asked, “Why is wind important?” This is because early farmers knew that windmills could pump water from streams and tributaries to irrigate their crops. They already understood that wind power was an important part of their renewable energy toolkits.
Fast forward to the 21st century, and wind has risen to the top of the renewable energy mix. Vestas, the Danish wind turbine company, has developed a new offshore wind turbine specially designed for use in areas prone to typhoons. The company’s V236-15.0 MW will produce 15 megawatts of electricity – the highest power of any offshore wind turbine in the world. The next closest is the GE Haliade X-13, which will be installed in the UK’s Dogger Bank offshore wind project in the North Sea.
In the United States, the Biden administration this month announced a plan to expand the use of offshore wind power along the east coast of the United States, with the aim of tapping into this substantial new source. renewable energy. The plan sets a goal of deploying 30,000 megawatts of offshore wind turbines in the country’s coastal waters by 2030, enough to power 10 million homes. To help achieve that goal, the administration said it will speed up the approval of projects off the Atlantic coast and prepare to open the waters near New York and New Jersey for development. The effort contains $ 3 billion in federal loan guarantees for offshore wind projects and invests in upgrading the country’s ports to support wind construction.
So what is this zero emission technology for? And why has renewable wind power been controversial so far?
How does a wind turbine work?
Modern wind power is very different from the gentle windmills of the Don Quixote tradition. Today’s wind is harvested by onshore or offshore wind farms which mainly consist of wind turbines. Wind turbines are mounted on a tower 100 feet (30 meters) or more above the ground; this height is necessary to take advantage of a faster and less turbulent wind. The turbines capture the energy of the wind thanks to their propeller-shaped blades. Usually 2 or 3 blades are mounted on a shaft to form a rotor.
Think about how an airplane wing works, suggests NREL, as a wind turbine is similar. Winds are blowing and a pocket of low pressure air forms on the leeward side of the blade. The low pressure air pocket then pulls the blade towards it, which turns the rotor. This is called the elevator. The force of the lift is actually much stronger than the force of the wind against the front face of the blade, called drag. The combination of lift and drag spins the rotor like a propeller, and the rotating shaft spins a generator to generate electricity.
What parts make up a wind turbine?
- the towers, full of technology
- supporting infrastructure
- blades tilted by digital sensors that measure the speed and direction of the wind and then capture the energy of the wind turning the rotor
- a gearbox that accelerates this rotation, which increases efficiency
- a generator inside made up of magnets to create electricity, then descend from the tower to the grid
Innovations in gearboxes and generators created more power with less wind, providing improved zero emission efficiency and lower costs compared to previous years.
Cost of turbines: Chute, Chute, Chute …
Economies of scale are certainly an important factor in lowering turbine prices. Vestas Wind Systems is one of the oldest turbine companies in the world – it was founded in 1945. Its turbines have come down in cost considerably since 2005.
The new rotor blades increase in area and length, which raises wind capacity factors and increases efficiency by being able to generate electricity at low wind speeds. These blades can cope with up to 200 tons of air pressure. To compensate for this, you need state-of-the-art composite materials like carbon fiber that are strong enough to withstand this kind of pressure.
Innovation, electrical engineering and autonomous robotic repairs also help reduce the costs of operating and installing wind turbines.
An initiative backed by the US Department of Energy has started working on a roadmap to outline the benefits of the local supply chain for accelerating the development of offshore wind in the country. Analyzing a supply chain database will identify resources as well as gaps in current suppliers to build on existing strengths and improve deficits.
No wind turbines in my neighborhood! The zero-emission wind controversy
Members of the wind-powered opposition group Citizens for the Preservation of Wainscott, which began in 2018, are fighting to save their beach from an underground power line connecting New York’s Governor Cuomo’s first offshore wind farm. The group says the power cable project “will forever change … one of the Hamptons’ most popular, used and photographed public beaches.”
Great River Energy, a Minnesota-based rural electric co-op, planned to sell its Coal Creek station to build massive wind farms – with a combined output capacity of 800 megawatts – to take advantage of an existing transmission line. Two counties next to Coal Creek station moved quickly to prevent wind companies from accessing the line in an attempt to save the area’s coal plant, and the local wind effort was scrapped.
The ill-fated 468-megawatt Cape Wind project off the coast of Massachusetts in the United States is an example of an ambitious offshore wind project gone awry, in part due to objections from a particularly influential landowner whose family has a large stake in the fossil fuel industry in the United States.
Still, regional wind supporters continued and Massachusetts celebrated the first world-class commercial offshore wind farm in the United States, the Vineyard Wind project, which weighed in at 800 megawatts. The Vineyard wind power project will contribute to the Biden-Harris administration’s goal of generating 30 gigawatts of power from offshore wind by 2030. Located approximately 12 nautical miles off Martha’s Vineyard and 12 nautical miles off Nantucket, Vineyard Wind is expected to create 3,600 jobs and provide enough power for 400,000 homes and businesses.
Wind turbines today: case studies
Vestas has signed an agreement with Omega Energia for the 212 MW AssuruÃ¡ 4 project, located in the towns of Gentio do Ouro and Xique-Xique, in Bahia. The order includes 47 V150-4.2 MW wind turbines delivered in optimized power mode of 4.5 MW as well as a 10-year Active Output Management 5000 (AOM 5000) service contract, optimizing energy production for the duration life of the project. With this project, Vestas exceeds the 5 GW mark for orders in Brazil for V150 wind turbines in standard power of 4.2 MW and in optimized power modes of 4.5 MW. The milestone is reached a year and a half after the start of production of the turbine variant in the country. Wind turbines are produced locally according to the FINAME rules of the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES), creating jobs, developing the wind energy industry in Brazil and supporting the government’s initiative to promote renewable energies and an energy mix more sustainable.
GE Renewable Energy will supply 42 wind turbines, totaling 110 megawatts, to CleanMax for an onshore wind facility as part of a solar-wind hybrid project. CleanMax is developing the zero emission project in the western state of Gujarat, India.
Another GE wind turbine project is in the Netherlands, and the size of the machine and anticipated sales have surprised the wind industry. With its sensors gathering data on wind speed, electricity production and the stresses on its components, the enormous test model foreshadows a new series of giant offshore wind turbines which, when assembled in networks, have the potential to power entire cities.
Wind power is a wonder – we can use it for the benefit of the climate, the environment, the economy and social unity.