This is a renewable type of energy that uses the power of air flowing through turbines to create enough energy to power electric generators. It has been used for centuries and is a sustainable choice, providing a real alternative to the burning of fossil fuels.
While you may see the occasional wind turbine on a residential building or on a site such as a farm, you are more likely to see them in large numbers on wind farms. These are then connected to the main grid, providing the energy companies with energy that they can sell on to consumers. It is now fairly common to see onshore wind farms. This is a relatively inexpensive way to produce energy and this means it is a competitive price when compared with fossil fuels. However, many people object to the way that these turbines look and there are often protests when there are plans to develop a new one. This is usually because these farms have to be developed in rural areas and it does have an effect on wildlife.
Placing a wind farm offshore is another option. The wind offshore is usually stronger and steadier, but it does cost a lot more to develop an offshore wind farm and maintenance costs are also quite high. These can currently be seen at quite a few places around the UK coastline, for instance, set far enough away from the shore to avoid disrupting daily life.
However, wind is still an intermittent energy source and for this reason, in many cases, it has to be used alongside another source of power to ensure consistency of supply. For a self-sufficient smallholding, for example, a wind turbine would not be enough to ensure that they had adequate power to run their domestic appliances and it would be advised that they use something else as well such as solar power.
A large wind farm could easily consist of hundreds of turbines but there is still the option to put the land between each turbine to other use such as agricultural purposes. One of the largest wind farms in the world contains thousands of turbines.
The design of the wind turbine will vary slightly from place to place but they generally all follow the same basic design. They have a horizontal axis and a rotor which features three blades. These are attached to a tall tubular tower. For maintenance, workers can enter and climb the tower, carrying out any repairs to the unit as necessary.
When turbines are used on a wind farm, they are interconnected and feature a medium voltage system of power collection. In most cases, they will leave a distance between each of the wind turbines of around 7 times the diameter of the turbine rotor.