Can wind farms compete with all other types of energy? Will, they one day displace other energy sources? Today many major corporations are adding the use and establishment of wind and solar to their business plan. But is investing in renewable a wise move at this time? We look at two aspects of wind renewable energy – offshore wind farms vs. land-based wind farms
The Ecological and Environment Aspect
Wind energy is considered renewable energy produced due to weather patterns. As a result, wind energy is a thriving sector. Large wind farms are linked to the power grid, while smaller ones power outlying areas. As a result, wind energy is practically limitless, abundantly available, and less harmful to the environment than fossil fuels. On the other hand, wind farm building is beset with technological and economic challenges that slow the expansion of wind energy. A wind farm creates power by utilizing unique generators in wind turbines that run on renewable energy. Because the fuel obtained during the combustion process is not consumed, this type of energy is classified as environmentally friendly.
Wind Farm Operations – How Does A Wind Farm Work?
A farm has a generator, which converts the energy generated by the rotor’s spinning into electrical power. A screw or turbine turns the rotor. The truth is that the larger the generator, the more wind power it can convert into energy. As a result, the generator must be designed appropriately for the propeller or turbine. It will hinder you from launching in light breezes if it is overly big.
Vertical-axis farms are becoming less common. The generator is housed beneath the mast, and most crucially, there is no requirement for wind orientation. Vertical-axis farms require more incredible speeds and pre-start from an external power source for steady operation. Because of the growing need for specialists in energy, many students have enrolled.
The Pro Aspect of Wind Energy
Wind energy is both renewable and free. Produces no CO2 or hazardous chemicals. More wind turbines are being built, which decreases the number of power plants that spew dangerous compounds into the atmosphere.
Variety of Weather Patterns
The usage of such energy encourages the use of a range of power sources while reducing reliance on conventional power plants or other methods of energy production.
The construction of new wind projects results in technological advancement, technological innovation, and employment creation.
Reduced Costs of Wind Generation
In recent years, the cost of generating electricity from wind has decreased dramatically. Over the last two decades, the price has fallen by up to 80%, making this energy source the most profitable power plants.
Because the real space required for the power plant is modest, the owner of the property where the structures are placed might expect to benefit from the leasing of this land. Furthermore, because the power plants emit no hazardous pollutants, the area on which they are built may be used for agriculture (growing various crops).
Asset Life of A Wind Turbine
The everyday service life of such a power station is 20-30 years, and once decommissioned, no traces of it remain – neither in the environment nor in the atmosphere.
The farms are easy to operate, have a fast installation time, and have cheap running and maintenance expenses. The power plant generates 85 times the amount of electricity it uses. It also has comparatively low energy transfer losses.
Technology Acceptance & Adoption
The general people widely accept the establishment of a farm. The great majority of people recognize and appreciate the advantages of utilizing this sort of energy.
The Cons of Wind Power
Costs of investment
Wind farms are expensive to build. However, thanks to technological developments, farm construction costs are constantly reducing.
Unpredictability of Wind
Because the strength of energy is not consistent, power generation fluctuates. Furthermore, the wind is not always predictable, and it may not even be there for several days. This implies that turbines do not generate the same electricity over time. This can sometimes result in a complete absence of electricity.
Birds are Endangered.
Wind farms harm the environment and living beings. They have vital moving components, for example, that kill birds and bats. This is especially problematic during bird migration seasons. However, this is uncommon, and there is also a restriction that states farms cannot be established along migratory routes.
Wind farms may make a lot of noise. This is because they are continual generators of low-frequency noise. Human weariness can be caused by low-frequency turbine sounds (approximately 40 dB) and inaudible infrasound.
Interference With Broadcast and Aviation
Some farms with huge blade diameters and high rotating rates can interfere with radar and television signals.
The Effect on Health
Farms are harmful to the health of those who live nearby. As a result of their effect, a person may develop so-called turbine syndrome (issues with sleep, concentration, headaches, and dizziness); thus, wind farms are at least 2.5 – 3 kilometers away from residential structures.
The Expense of Land
Near the shore is one of the best places for agriculture. However, as you know, land along the seaside is frequently expensive.
Ongoing Need For Other Generation
Farms provide energy about 30% of the time. However, energy is supplemented by coal-fired power plants, which emit dangerous pollutants. As a result, land and real estate values are falling. According to research, real estate value within a 1.6 km radius of farms might plummet.
The costs of land reclamation and the removal of turbine foundations once the station’s operation has ended.
Workplaces & Employment
The building of the stations reduces the number of employees; only one person can maintain a dozen windmills.
Wind Farms in the Ocean
In many regions of our globe, particularly around the coasts of continents and islands, continual strong winds blow, the energy of which may be harnessed by humans to provide highly profitable, ecologically benign power. Offshore and coastal, ocean, shelf, or water farms are examples of such farms developed in the shallow zone of the oceans (surface). They are investing in one of the most promising renewable energy sectors with billions of dollars allocated. Between 2010 and 2015, energy production from offshore power sources rose fivefold. This category is growing particularly rapidly in Europe, particularly in nations with considerable sea access, such as the United Kingdom (where, according to estimates, up to compose 30% of all wind resources in the EU), including Denmark and Sweden.
Europe Leads in Offshore Wind
Europe is the world leader in offshore energy, having erected the first offshore farm (Vindeby) in Denmark in 1991. However, in 2013, a comprehensive review of the technical aspects of the turbines, such as the dimensions used onshore, including electrical connections and converters, revealed that the industry as a whole was overly optimistic about the cost-benefit ratio and concluded that “the offshore market does not compare.” Moreover, it does not appear to be significant. Outside of Europe, the Chinese government has set lofty ambitions of 5 GW of installed coastal wind capacity by 2015 and 30 GW by 2020, much beyond other countries. By 2017, the global installed capacity of offshore electricity had reached 20 GW. However, offshore power generated barely 0.3 percent of the world’s electricity in 2018.
Land-Based Wind Farms
Today, this is the most popular form of the wind power facility. Projects seek locations on hills and high elevations to install a generator. It required a prepared site for the installation of an industrial generator. You must also obtain approval from the regulatory authorities. Heavy lifting equipment with a boom extension of more than 50 meters is necessary for construction. The turbines are placed at 50 meters high. All power plant generators are linked together via cable to form a single system. The wind farms in Michigan are one such example.
Project Planning a Land-Based Wind Farm
Planning, engineering design, building, operation, expansion, upgrades, and facility closures are all part of the life cycle. For the project to fulfill expectations, each of these stages needs the participation of specialists—moreover, participation and the usage of cutting-edge technologies. Building an onshore farm now takes 5 to 8 years on average, depending on the site chosen, the scale of the project, and a variety of other criteria. A new energy project begins with rigorous planning and assessment of the facility’s chosen site. Then, experts perform in-depth research, evaluating orographic conditions, wind intensity and direction, seismic activity, and other factors. Forecasting the environmental and socioeconomic repercussions of future buildings in the region is a significant focus. The research findings will be required to get permission and negotiate with the government.
The construction of an onshore farm
Offshore wind projects typically involve five stages:
- Access roads for equipment transportation are being built.
- Construction site layout and building material storage facilities.
- Foundations for wind turbines are being built.
- Cable installation and other electrical activities on the spot.
- Turbine assembly and placement on foundations
The performance of extensive investigation, planning, and collaboration of the building of a wind ranch with original authorities is a necessity for the effective perpetuation of a wind power design.
The commissioning of new onshore farms may increase by 32% to 60 GW in 2019. As a result, electricity output from onshore farms will be more than treble between 2017 and 2021. Between 2018 and 2050, the average cost of power generated by new onshore will fall by 58%. According to the BNEF research, the cost of producing onshore will drop by 47 percent by 2040.
Final Thoughts on Offshore Wind vs. Land-Based Wind Farms
Wind power can dramatically reduce the world economy’s reliance on oil, gas, uranium, and other forms of fossil fuels in a brief period and significantly reduce emissions of gases into the atmosphere, which hurt the planet’s climate. Such farms can be developed on land (onshore) and at shallow depths in the sea’s shelf zone (coastal or offshore), where strong enough winds frequently blow. By 2050, companies worldwide will have invested $4.2 trillion in such energy. However, this sort of energy will fall by more than 40% by 2030, making it one of the cheapest.