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< prev - next > Energy Wind power wind for electricity generation (Printable PDF)
Wind for electricity generation
Practical Action
Planning permission may be required in some locations, and considerations should be taken of
any possible legal restrictions.
Environmental concerns
Wind power is a clean, renewable energy source. There are, however, some environmental
considerations to keep in mind when planning a wind power scheme. They include the
Electromagnetic interference. Some television frequency bands are susceptible to
interference from wind generators.
Noise. Wind rotors, gearboxes and generators create acoustic noise when functioning,
something to be considered when choosing a site for the machine.
Visual impact. Modern wind machines are large objects, and therefore have a
significant visual impact on their surroundings. Some argue that it is a positive visual
impact, others to the contrary.
Cost / economics
The cost of producing electricity from the wind depends on the local wind regime. As
mentioned earlier, the power output from the wind machine is proportional to cube of the wind
speed, and so a slight increase in wind speed will mean a significant increase in power and a
subsequent reduction in unit costs. Capital costs for wind power are high, but running costs
are low and so access to initial funds, subsidies or low interest loans are an obvious advantage
when considering a wind-electric system. If a hybrid system is used, a thorough cost-benefit
analysis needs to be carried out. A careful matching of load and energy supply options should
be made in order to maximise the use of the power from the wind. (A load which accepts a
variable input is ideally matched to the intermittent nature of wind power.)