Wind Energy

Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form of energy, such as using: wind turbines to make electricity, windmills for mechanical power, windpumps for water pumping or drainage, or sails to propel ships.

Wind Turbines

See how wind turbines generate electricity from the power of the wind. 
Highlighted are the various parts and mechanisms of a modern wind turbine.

Wind Power

<< this article does not take into account construction or disposal of the technology ("plentiful, renewable, clean ... ") nor effects on the environment, like bird migration paths, noise, health, etc. >>

A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines which are connected to the electric power transmission network. 

Offshore wind farms can harness more frequent and powerful winds than are available to land-based installations and have less visual impact on the landscape but construction costs are considerably higher. Small onshore wind facilities are used to provide electricity to isolated locations and utility companies increasingly buy back surplus electricity produced by small domestic wind turbines.

Wind power, as an alternative to fossil fuels, is plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, produces no greenhouse gas emissions during operation and uses little land.

 Any effects on the environment are generally less problematic than those from other power sources. As of 2011, 83 countries around the world are using wind power on a commercial basis.

 As of 2010 wind energy was over 2.5% of total worldwide electricity usage, growing at more than 25% per annum. The monetary cost per unit of energy produced is similar to the cost for new coal and natural gas installations.[4] Although wind power is a popular form of energy generation, the construction of wind farms is not universally welcomed due to aesthetics.

Although very consistent from year to year, wind power has significant variation over shorter timescales. The intermittency of wind seldom creates problems when used to supply up to 20% of total electricity demand, but as the proportion increases, a need to upgrade the grid, and a lowered ability to supplant conventional production can occur. 

Power management techniques such as having excess capacity storage, dispatchable backing supplies (usually natural gas), storage such as pumped-storage hydroelectricity, exporting and importing power to neighboring areas or reducing demand when wind production is low, can greatly mitigate these problems.

Some Links

Quite different scales & approaches:

WindStream Technologies 

80kW Installation at Myers, Fletcher & Gordon, Jamaica

Vídeo de YouTube

In Depth Interviews

Two audio interviews taking a wind-power wider view: how sustainable it really is, at what scale, what factors get ignored in our rush to simply substitute oil for 'renewables'.

Annette Smith

Annette Smith is executive director of Vermonters for a Clean Environment, an organization she co-founded 15 years ago with Vermont citizens when a large energy project was proposed for her region.  After successfully defeating that project, Annette has worked with Vermonters throughout the state to defeat large quarries, landfills, farms, and other large energy proposals while also improving Vermont’s groundwater protection laws.  Annette has lived off-grid with solar in Vermont for more than 20 years, hand milks a cow, has a flock of chickens, grows most of her own food including citrus in a greenhouse, and seeks change through collaboration when possible and opposition when necessary

Max Wilbert 

Max Wilbert is an activist, photographer, and writer based in Salt Lake  City. Although he’s only 25 years old, he has been working against racism, social injustice, war, and environmental issues for over a decade.