Wind is the fastest-growing form of renewable energy. In 2017, a quarter of the UK’s electricity was generated by offshore and land-based wind farms. The number is expected to rise in the coming years, and not just in the UK alone. The rest of the world is also embracing wind power. The U.S., for instance, is aiming at harvesting 20% of its electricity from wind by 2030.
In the past, wind power was never seriously considered as an alternative to fossil fuel. Today, wind energy is beginning to turn some heads. So, why the sudden interest in wind energy? Let’s take a look at what makes wind superior to other sources of renewable energy.
Efficient harvesting technology
Although the output of a wind turbine is dependent on its size and the wind speed, the power conversion is remarkably efficient. A single turbine with a capacity of about 3MW can generate an annual average of 6 million kWh of power.
Harnessing wind energy using modern methods has an efficiency of between 35-45%. Some turbines can even run at 50% efficiency in the right conditions. In comparison, the best solar panels struggle to achieve a 25% efficiency in converting sunlight to electricity.
Wind turbines take up very little space considering the amount of power they produce. What makes mass harvesting of solar power difficult is the size of land required. A typical solar panel measuring 18 square feet produces about 320 watts of electricity, to generate enough power for a small town, you’d need a vast array covering a great area.
Wind power turbines, on the other hand, can be placed on hilltops, river valleys and even out to sea.
Hundreds of world-class companies are now getting involved in what seems to be a promising solution to global energy demands. Companies in the private sector and government initiatives are investing time and resources in setting up wind farms and improving existing techniques. This is undoubtedly growing wind energy’s popularity and use.
Like many other natural sources of energy, wind is still not entirely dependable. However, engineers and specialists are working tirelessly to improve the reliability and performance of wind turbines. So far, the progress is impressive and we expect to see more.