Energy & Green Tech

A new approach to improve the power control of wind farms

To slow down climate change and prevent its adverse consequences, humans will need to transition to more sustainable energy sources. Engineers worldwide have thus been working on a wide range of technologies that can convert ...

Energy & Green Tech

Major Japan railway now powered only by renewable energy

Tokyo's Shibuya is famed for its Scramble Crossing, where crowds of people crisscross the intersection in a scene symbolizing urban Japan's congestion and anonymity. It may have added another boasting right.

Energy & Green Tech

Homes fitted with new technology could make the grid smarter

Researchers at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have developed a control system that could make most of America's homes more capable partners in managing the nation's electricity resources.

Energy & Green Tech

The colors of hydrogen explained

Hydrogen has emerged as the energy technology that could help nations like Australia to decarbonize their economies. But did you know that, beyond green and blue hydrogen, there's a whole rainbow of hydrogen types?

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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