Energy & Green Tech

Untapped solar and wind potential in Swiss mountains

Scientists at EPFL and the WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF have issued recommendations for what type of renewable energy should be produced in Switzerland's various regions, to help achieve the country's ...

Energy & Green Tech

Biden administration unveils offshore wind plan for California

The federal government plans to open California's coast to offshore wind development, the Biden administration announced Tuesday. The move could provide the state with a major source of renewable energy and cut its climate-warming ...

Energy & Green Tech

US approves its biggest offshore wind farm yet

The US announced on Tuesday that it had granted final approval for its biggest wind power project yet, which will be located off the coast of the eastern state of Massachusetts.

Energy & Green Tech

Renewable energy powers ahead in 2020: report

Renewable energy grew at its fastest rate in two decades, driven primarily by gains in China and wind power, the International Energy Agency said in a report Tuesday.

Energy & Green Tech

Biden plan for cleaner power system faces daunting obstacles

If the nation is to meet President Joe Biden's goal of cutting America's greenhouse gas emissions in half by the end of the decade, it will have to undertake a vast transformation toward renewable energy.

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Wind power

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. At the end of 2008, worldwide nameplate capacity of wind-powered generators was 121.2 gigawatts (GW). Wind power produces about 1.5% of worldwide electricity use, and is growing rapidly, having doubled in the three years between 2005 and 2008. Several countries have achieved relatively high levels of wind power penetration, such as 19% of stationary electricity production in Denmark, 11% in Spain and Portugal, and 7% in Germany and the Republic of Ireland in 2008. As of May 2009, eighty countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.

Large-scale wind farms are connected to the electric power transmission network. Smaller turbines are used to provide electricity to isolated locations. Utility companies increasingly buy back surplus electricity produced by small domestic turbines. Wind energy as a power source is attractive as an alternative to fossil fuels, because it is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and produces no greenhouse gas emissions; however, the construction of wind farms (as with other forms of power generation) is not universally welcomed due to their visual impact and other effects on the environment.

Wind power is non-dispatchable, meaning that for economic operation all of the available output must be taken when it is available, and other resources, such as hydropower, and standard load management techniques must be used to match supply with demand. The intermittency of wind seldom creates problems when using wind power to supply a low proportion of total demand. Where wind is to be used for a moderate fraction of demand, additional costs for compensation of intermittency are considered to be modest.

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