The winds, defined as large air masses which move rapidly from one area to another, are created by the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface by solar radiation. The kinetic energy of the winds is such that, with the current technology to harness it, mankind’s electricity needs could be covered more than twice over.
The history of the use of wind energy is very ancient. Homer’s tale of the trapping of the winds in Aiolos’ goatskin bag precisely indicates humans’ need to have the winds at their disposal at a time and place convenient to them. For many hundreds of years, the movement of boats depended on the strength of the winds, while use of the windmill as a prime mover was abandoned only in the mid 20th century. It was the age when conventional fuels were expanding rapidly and electricity was being extended to even the most remote areas. The oil crisis at the beginning of the 1970’s brought RES to prominence again. From that time up to the present, there has been very rapid development which has been reinforced by the urgent need to protect the environment. More and more people have come to realize that the wind is a clean and inexhaustible source of energy.
The modern systems for the use of wind energy are primarily machines which convert wind energy into electricity and are called wind turbines.
The most economically important application for wind turbines is their connection to a country’s electricity grid. In this case, a wind farm, i.e. a grouping of many wind turbines, is installed and operates in an area with high wind potential, and the entire production is transmitted to the electricity grid. Of course, wind turbines can function independently for electricity production in areas which are not connected to the grid, for mechanical energy for pumping, as well as heat. However, the power produced from applications of this type is limited and so is their economic importance.
Environmental Impacts of Wind Farms:
Myth and Reality