The air in motion is known as wind. The natural tendency of air is to flow from high pressure to low pressure. The radiations from the sun heat up the earth’s surface in an uneven manner which causes a pressure difference. During the day, the air present on the land is warm and light, while the air present above the sea is cool and heavy. The air present over the land, being light in nature, starts to float and move towards the upper atmosphere. This creates a low-pressure in the ground region. The cool air present on the sea surface forms a high-pressure region. Therefore, during the day, the air moves from the sea towards the land, called the sea breeze. This flow of air is reversed at night, called the land breeze. This movement of air is mostly parallel to the surface of the earth. Wind energy is most popularly used in coastal areas. The kinetic energy possessed by the wind is utilized for the generation of electricity. The wind strikes the windmill fan blades causing them to turn and rotate. This mechanical movement of the fan blades is then fed to a generator. The armature coil of the generator makes use of electromagnetic induction to convert mechanical energy into electrical power. This electrical energy can further be stored or can be directly coupled in order to run multiple appliances.
Advantages of wind energy
One of the major disadvantages of using fossil fuels as a source of energy generation is that they are present in a very limited amount and will not be available to us for longer. However, using non-conventional sources of energy such as wind energy helps us overcome this demerit. Wind energy is abundantly available in nature and is inexhaustible. Therefore, it is a superior alternative to generate energy.
2. Cost Efficient
The wind is a natural resource and is available for free. Also, the power generated with the help of wind energy is quite inexpensive. The cost of the electricity generated by conventional sources of energy depends upon the initial cost of the raw material. Hence, the charges may vary from time to time. But, the electricity produced by a wind energy farm resists any fluctuation in cost as the raw material being used for the production of energy is freely available. Therefore, the cost is fixed and a constant charge is maintained for a longer time.
Wind energy is directly extracted from the wind. Unlike the raw material used by other conventional sources of energy, the wind is present infinitely. Using non-conventional sources of energy such as wind energy is advantageous because there is no possibility of the scarcity of raw material. Therefore, wind energy serves to be an ideal replacement for traditional energy generating sources.
Wind energy does not make use of the combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, petroleum, etc. Therefore, at a wind energy farm, no pollutants are released during the energy generation process. The result of energy generation with the help of windmills is residue-free and does not involve the excretion of solid waste or any toxic gases. Hence, wind energy is a clean and pollution-free non-conventional source of energy.
5. Low Maintenance
Most of the power plants require regular maintenance procedures to be followed in order to keep up the machine and plant health. Also, to maintain uniform production quality, keen monitoring is required. The biggest asset of using wind energy is that it requires low maintenance. Thereby, it reduces both maintenance charges and human efforts.
Disadvantages of wind energy
1. Expensive Installation
The only cost that is required to be paid by the consumer in order to access wind energy is the installation cost. To set up a wind energy farm, a large number of windmills are required to be constructed and connected together. The windmills are huge in dimensions and are costly to manufacture and install. Therefore, if the initial expenses are properly met, only then the energy would be accessible.
2. Deviation in Routes of Migratory Birds
A long chain of huge windmills is established in order to generate wind energy, which usually serves to be problematic for wildlife. Migratory birds tend to follow a regular route, according to the seasons, to travel and make their new home, but their route gets disrupted due to wind energy farms. The power generated by wind energy causes inconvenience and is unhealthy for birds as the moving windmill wings might hurt the flying birds who are unaware of the consequences of flying close to the windmill.
3. Irritating Noise
Most of the windmills that are employed for electricity generation are susceptible to produce noise and make a continuous chattering sound. This is often unacceptable and irritating. The people living nearby have to go through a lot of chaos and inconvenience. This issue does not even have a solution and has to be dealt with as it is.
The safety procedures taken must be severe in case of employing any natural non-conventional source of energy. The birds and the wildlife animals often get hurt by the sharp blades, generator, and other components of a windmill. It is highly unsafe for children and adults to play or work near a wind energy farm because the wind energy is naturally uncontrollable. Severe precautionary measures are required to be taken during a regular check-up of the plant in order to avoid mishap or an accident.
Remoteness is, however, both the merit and demerit of wind energy. Usually, wind energy fields are located on the outskirts of the towns and cities far-far away from the city centers in order to keep the huge windmills out of reach of the general public. But, the disadvantage is that the person who is the caretaker or the maintenance person-in-charge of the plant has to travel and spend long distance to keep a check on the proper working of the machinery and to review the regular health of the windmills.
6. Wind Velocity
The kinetic energy of the wind comes from the kinetic velocity. The speed required to properly bring a windmill into motion is approximately 15kmph. During the days when the speed of the wind is below this threshold, a decline in power generation can be observed. This scarcity in power has to be dealt with by either making use of the stored power or by employing alternative approaches to generate energy.