Energy & Green Tech

Wind, solar could replace coal power in Texas

Texas can be a model for the nation on how to effectively replace coal with wind and solar for the state's energy needs while meeting environmental goals, according to new research by Rice University engineers. 

Energy & Green Tech

Fukushima region forges renewable future after nuclear disaster

Solar farms along tsunami-ravaged coastlines, green energy "micro-grids" and the experimental production of non-polluting hydrogen: 11 years after its nuclear nightmare, Japan's Fukushima region is investing in a renewable ...

Energy & Green Tech

Storm helps Poland hit wind energy record: 30% of power

Deadly high winds that struck Northern Europe last week generated a record level of wind energy for Poland, covering some 30% of the demand in a country where most of its electricity comes from coal, Poland's power distribution ...

Energy & Green Tech

Are wind and solar power really more expensive and less reliable?

Not that long ago, critics of renewable sources of energy had a point when they claimed wind and solar power cost more and were less dependable than fossil fuels, mostly because they depend upon the wind blowing and the sun ...

Energy & Green Tech

Wind powers change in England's industrial heartland

On the banks of the River Humber in northern England, the winds of change are blowing through Hull, where factory workers busily craft turbine blades in a green revolution.

Energy & Green Tech

Germany faces 'gigantic' task meeting energy, climate goals

Germany's new climate minister said Tuesday that the country faces a "gigantic" task if it wants to achieve its goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions while ensuring sufficient energy for its energy-hungry industry.

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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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