RENEWABLES ENERGY: WIND POWER

Do you know how wind power will be transformed into energy?

#wind power #renewable energy #engineering

The concept of wind power is already well known to all but, do we actually understand how wind is transformed into energy?

Sil Wind Farm (Galicia, Spain).Sil Wind Farm (Galicia, Spain).

Let us start with a simple question: where does wind come from? The answer is "from the sun". In fact, solar radiation does not fall evenly on Earth's surface: some areas are hotter than others and in hotter areas, air — which weighs less — tends to rise, generating low pressure areas. In turn, in colder areas, air flows down, — since it is heavier — creating high-pressure areas. It is this difference in pressures that makes air move and generate wind.

Any mass or body in motion has kinetic energy. In the case of the generation of wind power, this kinetic energy is stopped when it passes through wind turbines, ceding part of it to the wind turbine. The energy is extracted with the rotor, which transforms the kinetic energy into mechanical energy, and with the generator, which transforms this mechanical energy into electrical energy. Important: only 40 to 45% of the wind passing through a wind turbine can be used to generate energy.

THE IMPORTANCE OF THE ROTOR
The air that passes over the sweeping surface of the blades makes them turn. The resistance of the blades makes it lose speed. This is the energy that the generator 'harvests'. The more blade time, the greater the capacity to collect energy.
COMPONENTS OF A WIND TURBINE

WIND POWER: clean, efficient and safe

BASIC INFORMATION 2018

Onshore and offshore wind farms in Europe

iberdrola

189GW

OF WIND CAPACITY INSTALLED IN EUROPE

GW

190

180

170

160

140

120

100

80

60

40

20

0

85

iberdrola

3.0

82

2010

94,8

iberdrola

3.8

91

2011

106

iberdrola

5.0

101

2012

117,6

iberdrola

6.6

111

2013

129,1

iberdrola

8.1

121

2014

142

iberdrola

11

131

2015

154

iberdrola

13

141

2016

178

iberdrola

16

162

2017

189

iberdrola

18

171

2018

Onshore wind power

Offshore wind power

Source: WindEurope.

Onshore and offshore wind farms around the world

iberdrola

591GW

OF WIND CAPACITY INSTALLED AROUND THE WORLD

GW

600

500

400

300

200

100

0

198

iberdrola

+39

2010

238

iberdrola

+41

2011

283

iberdrola

+45

2012

319

iberdrola

+36

2013

370

iberdrola

+52

2014

433

iberdrola

+64

2015

487

iberdrola

+55

2016

540

iberdrola

+53

2017

591

iberdrola

+51

2018

Wind capacity installed last year

New wind capacity installed this year

Source: REN21, Renewables 2017 Global Status Report.

 

 SEE INFOGRAPHIC: Wind Power: clean, efficient and safe [PDF]

Process of building wind farms

The process followed to build a wind farm is very complex. There are many characteristics that must be analysed to know where and when it should be built. The most important characteristics that must be analysed are the spatial, time and vertical variation of wind throughout time. These parameters are studied with wind vanes and anemometers and the future production of the wind farm is estimated to guarantee its potential efficiency. The cutting edge supercomputing techniques can be used to optimise the design of the wind farm complex to maximise the generation of energy.

Innovation is also allowing us to make much progress in offshore wind power. An example is the Romeo project, a European initiative led by Iberdrola to reduce the operating and maintenance costs of wind farms.

Without a doubt, onshore or offshore wind power is a sustainable and valuable solution for the future.

 

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