The Benefits Of Wind Farms
Many advances are being made towards society producing energy through the use of windmill power, rather than by using fossil fuels. With wind turbine power expanding towards 3.35% of the global energy market by 2013, and possibly 8% by 2018, there are many questions being asked about just how wind power works, and which countries are taking it the most seriously.
Windmill power is being used to bring electricity to isolated places that have a harder time receiving a reliable amount of energy. This is possible as wind power uses very little land to operate. Last year, a reported 83 countries were using wind power to make up for a portion of their energy production. Whether each country began their journey into using renewable energy more than others was due to the lowering of greenhouse gas emissions, or to cut out dwindling universal methods of producing energy, the following five countries have definitely taken large leaps towards making windmill power more ‘universal.’
Countries Leading the Way Toward 100% Renewable Energy
began its gradual shift to windmill power in 1999, when they targeted to obtain around 25% of its power from windmills by 2010, hoping to have 2,500 megawatts of wind power. In the year 2000, the small country had 55 energy plants running off wind, with a great increase to 148 by 2005. By 2010, Italy maintained 487 wind power plants, producing 5,814MW; more than doubling their original goal.
Portugal is the second highest producer of wind based renewable energy in the world. The country makes 17% of its electricity using windmills. Already boasting numerous major windmill power farms, Portugal has another large farm under construction in the area of the Viseu district.
India is in the top ten wind power producing countries, regardless of its standing as a developing third world nation. Five percent of India’s required energy comes from wind power.
Germany has more than 21,607 wind turbines installed. They produced 27.2 gigawatts of wind power from windmills in 2010 alone, producing approximately 7% of their total power production. The country plans to continue building windmills and wind turbines in wind farms with offshore placement. Germany comes in second to the United States in terms of the number of GW used annually
Denmark uses the highest percentage of wind power in comparison to any other country with 24.1% capacity for power generation and 18.95% of their production of electricity brought by windmills. The Danes prohibited energy companies to build nuclear plants after the Chernobyl disaster in 1988, paving the way for a push in renewable energy sources.
Wind energy relies on a large amount of wind in the area it is powering. This is why windmills and wind farms are often seen on tops of hills or in open fields. Small wind farms may have only a few wind turbines on the property, but a large wind farm can often have hundreds of turbines in one location. Offshore farms have a higher production capacity due to the open area allowing the amount of wind to be much more consistent, though there are seldom issues caused by intermittent winds at onshore farms.
Many environmentalists are torn between renewable energy needs being met by wind power versus the number of bird fatalities (birds flying in to the turbine blades), though the number of wildlife fatalities due to human’s fossil fuel consumption greatly outweighs those caused by windmills.
In the United States, the nuclear industry spent $650 million dollars on efforts to lobby against the wind power industry, causing the wind power industry to fight back and invest $5 million dollars in 2009 alone to keep their cause moving. Obviously windmill power is scaring companies with only profits in mind, who have neglected to be concerned about long-term environmental effects.