With so much talk about environmental damage, dwindling fossil fuels, and sky rocketing oil and energy prices it is now clear that we must look for alternative energy resources that will be able to supply our endless needs without the possibility of it being exhausted.
A Brief Lesson in History
A sustainable energy source since ancient times, the power of the wind has been harnessed by sailors, farmer, and architects alike. In times long gone, from 5,000 years ago and rediscovered again today the Egyptians used wind power to propel their sailing vessels, and Babylonian architects use architectural designs to make use of the wind to ventilate their palace and temple complexes.
As early as 300 B.C. the Sinhalese bygones used monsoon winds to power their furnaces. Constructed right where monsoon winds pass the furnaces were powered up to 1100 to 1200 centigrade. In the 1st century AD the first ever primitively built windmill was used to power an organ. Later during the 7th century the first and most primary windmill was built in Afghanistan in a small town called Sistan. The Windmill has a vertical axle with blades shaped like a rectangle and with a long driveshaft. In the 1100’s wind mills were built to grind flour, for sugar manufacturing and the gristmilling industries. The Dutch built windmills that stand until this day.
Beneath Power Is Wind
The Sun unevenly heats the Earth that differences of heat distribution; the poles receive less than the equators do. Unlike the land, the oceans, seas and rivers do not have covering so it retains more heat than soil. This contrast results in a global atmospheric convection that reaches from the stratosphere and into the earth’s surface. Energy in these wind movements are stored at high altitudes where in the wind can achieve speeds up to 160km/hr. Here after with the effects of friction the wind’s energy is diffused into heat throughout the planet and its atmosphere. This vast amount of sustainable power can provide us unimaginable amounts of energy, far more than we currently consume.
Wind Speed Distribution
Wind varies in strength. The average value of a certain location does not specify the energy of a single wind turbine. The wind speed’s frequency can be assessed in a particular location, they are fitted by a probable distribution function to the particular observed data. Different wind distributions varies from different locations, hourly wind speeds at different locations are being monitored by the Rayleigh model, which basically means a continuous probability distribution which was named after Lord Rayleigh.
Using the power of electricity from a wind farm is usually fed through a network of electrical power transmissions. This is done by connecting the individual turbines with a medium voltage power system and a series of communications networks. The electrical current is then increased with a transformer to be able to connect to the high voltage transmitting system. System operators supplies the wind farm owner with a code that indicates requirements to be able to connect to the transmission grid which includes the power factor, the constancy of the frequency and the behavior of the wind turbines when experiencing system faults.
Now that we know that the speed of wind is not constant, a farm’s energy production is not as much as the sum of the nameplate rating being multiplied by the year’s total hours being used. The ratio of this productivity in a whole year is called the capacity factor. This is the ratio of productivity in a year to this theoretical maximum.