do we use the wind to generate electricity?
Humans have known about wind power for a long
time, the first windmills appeared around 2,500
years ago. Today these windmills have evolved
into hi-tech, computer-designed wind
turbines, which harness the power of the wind
and turn it into electricity. Modern turbines
vary greatly in size and power output, the largest
turbines, singularly, can generate up to 2 megawatts
of electricity, enough to power a small town!
Much smaller wind generators can be used for small
site-specific electricity requirements or indivdual
applications like charging a battery.
developments of many wind turbines grouped together
are called "wind farms". These can generate
large amounts of electricity. The first large
wind farm developments were in California and
a little later in Denmark. Just twenty years since
these were first built, turbine performance and
reliability have dramatically improved and costs
have fallen considerably, making the technology
much more viable.
Power In the UK.
The UK is the windiest country in Europe, so naturally
we have some of the best wind resources with which
to generate electricity. In particular our offshore
wind resource is very large. Even when excluding
areas, which could interfere with shipping, fishing
or have unsuitable seabed conditions we could
still generate over, 60% of our entire energy
needs through offshore wind farms.
legislation already states that 10% of the UK's
electricity must be generated through clean sources
by 2010, so the power companies have been given
the incentive and have the capability to develop
the technology. Planning legislation is also being
revised to speed up the process of planning consent,
designing & building wind farms. (Although
it must be stressed planning constraints and public
consultation will still be very much be part of