Wind energy is the energy of the wind. It is normally used by means of windmills or wind turbines. It can be used for various purposes; the most common are generating electricity, pumping water, and grinding grains.
Wind energy is kinetic energy (of movement) since the wind is precisely the air in motion. In order to take advantage of it, it is necessary that the wind collides with something; when having contact with anybody, the air applies force to it, which we can direct and use. An example of this is when it is a strong wind, and it hits us, we feel resistance when walking against the wind, and we feel light when walking in favor of it.
Wind energy characteristics
The wind is a side effect of solar energy. The Air movement is due to the temperature difference between land and sea. When it’s sunny, the Earth heats up faster than water, and at night the Earth cools down faster. As hot air rises and cold air falls, air currents are created, which are commonly known as breeze or wind. The energy contained in the wind is estimated to be approximately 2% of the total solar energy reaching the Earth. Wind speed determines how much energy we can use.
On the surface of the Earth, there are many obstacles ( rocks, houses, trees), which interrupt the wind and make it softer. In flat places like the sea or in the open field it is stronger wind.
Air, like water, increases in pressure when compressed: when air circulates from an open place and passes through a restricted space (for example, between two mountains), it becomes stronger and faster.
Origin of wind energy
The earliest uses of wind power were sailing ships and windmills. The sailors used the wind to transport people and products on ships (some of them of great size) and to commercialize in other countries and territories. The mills were used to grind grain or cane: they had a crescent-shaped wall that covered half of the mill; When it turned, it crushed, rubbing the seeds between the wall and the edge of the mill, and the other half of the mill was exposed to the elements so that it could be moved by the wind and perform the crushing. Windmills were also very important for the water supply.
How do windmills work?
First, an analysis is made of the location area (mill location): the direction in which the wind runs and its speed measured in kilometers per hour (km / h) or meters per second (m / sec.). This information is used to determine the optimal location for the mill installation. The mill blades are built at a precise angle so that they begin to rotate when the wind hits them; the shaft of the blades is connected to a turbine that generates electricity by means of a generator.
Wind energy utilization
Wind power is still used for sailing, irrigation, and for grinding grain and other agricultural products. However, advances in modern technology have opened the doors to much more diverse uses. For example, the production of electrical energy by means of the wind can be done through the pure wind, wind- photovoltaic (in combination with solar panels), or wind-diesel systems, among others; It can be on a household or industrial scale. Since 1990, wind generation worldwide has grown at an annual average of 20%, and this also implies technological development and amplification of the possible uses of this energy.
Advantages and disadvantages of wind energy
As a type of clean energy that is also a technology still under development, wind energy as a source of electricity fosters environmental protection, job creation, technology transfer, economic growth and diversity in energy supply. And the most important thing is that it is renewable: the wind is a resource that does not end with our consumption.
Some disadvantages of wind power are the noise they make and the space they require. In urban or small places, these two factors are the main limitations. Some people consider it unsightly for the landscape, and the movement of the blades kills the birds that collide with them. But despite its disadvantages, wind power is currently one of the best options for clean and sustainable energy.