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Wind energy

Wind energy

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Wind energy

Wind energy uses the wind's kinetic energy to generate mechanical and electrical energy through wind turbines.

This type of energy ultimately comes from the sun, which causes differences in temperature in the air masses, causing wind, which is a constant and inexhaustible source of energy.

Wind power leads the field among renewable energy sources, largely because of its limited environmental impact and the progressive reduction in costs, which now makes it a clean, competitive and economically viable source of energy.

ADVANTAGES

Environmental advantages

  • Clean, safe, and renewable.
  • Does not emit gases that might contribute to the greenhouse effect or cause acid rain (CO2, SO2, NOx).
  • Does not require large earthworks and the civil engineering required is minimal.
  • Easily reversible, and can be removed without leaving any trace behind.
  • Installation is compatible with other land uses.

Social advantages

  • Greater social benefits than conventional energy sources.
  • Economic benefit for the municipal areas affected.
  • Positive effects on regional development and in usage.
  • On a worldwide scale, expansion of the renewable energy technologies industry.

Energy advantages

  • Contributes to self-sufficiency and improvement in assuring the power supply in the region affected.

DISADVANTAGES

  • Fluctuations in wind strength
  • Visual impact, since wind farms alter the landscape and to a lesser extent, affect birdlife
  • Noise impact on the area around the wind farm

FORECAST DEVELOPMENT

Conventional wind turbines now have capacities of 700 - 850 - 1500 kW and allow for high production levels with a small number of units.

Wind turbines are being developed with capacities of over 2 MW and up to 4.5 MW. These will be particularly suitable for offshore facilities. Moreover, the rotors turn at variable speeds, enabling better harnessing of the force of the wind.

New designs are being applied, with aeronautical companies developing improvements in blades and in the design of materials to optimise performance. New systems are also being developed in power electronics which will improve the efficiency of the machines. All this will mean improvements in quality and more cost effective wind turbines.

OFFSHORE WIND FARMS

Offshore wind farms are now in operation in the waters of Northern Europe, where the sea wind offers great potential for generating electricity.

This type of installation does not affect either the marine ecosystem or migrating birds (which simply fly round the turbines) and the turbines used have a capacity that runs into megawatts, giving them much greater power production potential than their onland counterparts.

WIND TURBINES

Wind farm

A wind farm is a set of wind turbines located in the same area and connected electrically to one another.

A- Civil engineering

Kokaleku egokiena aukeratu ahal izateko, proiektuaren garapenenaren inguruan ikerketa ugari egin behar dira:

A wind farm generally requires very little civil engineering, involving the foundations for the wind turbines, access roads and internal roads

Wind turbines are connected to each other by underground power lines

After the energy has been collected from the turbines, the voltage is raised to the level required by the power company

Each wind farm is connected to the grid by a power line

  • A- Civil engineering

  • B- Power connections

  • C- Electricity substation

  • D- Power line

Choosing the site

To choose the ideal site for a wind farm, numerous studies have to be carried out- Measurement of wind and assessment of the wind resource

  • Estimation of wind speeds at the site
  • Examination of electrical distribution in the area
  • Study of the network of access roads
  • Environmental impact study, analysing aspects such as visual impact, noise, ecology and archaeological heritage
  • Information to local bodies and authorities, administrative procedures

The wind turbine

The wind turbine is the main element in the wind-powered electrical installation. Building a wind turbine requires complex mechanisms and aeronautical, physical and electronic technology. The wind blows differently at each site and wind turbines therefore have to be developed that are capable of adapting to the particular features of each place. They can operate in isolation or send the energy produced to the general electricity grid.

  • The Rotor

    Transforms the wind energy into mechanical energy. It can be positioned horizontally or vertically, although wind turbines with horizontal shafts are now most commonly used because they reduce the mechanical stress supported by the blades and are more efficient.

  • Tower

    The element that supports the gondola and the rotor. Use tubular steel and new designs have reduced tower weight by 50%. Ever taller towers are being built to support rotors of larger diameters and thus generate more energy.

  • Blades

    Son las encargadas de recoger la energía cinética del viento y transformarla en energía mecánica.
    Fabricadas en fibra de vidrio y poliéster, actualmente se utilizan tres por aerogenerador para dar mayor estabilidad a la turbina. En su diseño se tiene en cuenta la resistencia aerodinámica y la pérdida de sustentación, ya que las palas de gran longitud a la alta velocidad producida en los extremos ponen al límite la resistencia de los materiales.
    La técnica actual tiene el objeto de reducir su peso, aumentar su resistencia y disminuir el ruido generado.

  • The gondola

    Houses the main mechanical elements of the wind turbine.

Choosing the size

Technical and economic criteria are used to choose the right size. Ever larger units are being built, offering greater cost effectiveness. Turbines currently come with capacities of 700-850-1500 kW but new multi-megawatt turbines are now being developed.

* The length in metres corresponds to the span (diameter) of the blades

The gondola

Houses the main mechanical elements of the wind turbine

  • Gearbox
    EMechanical transmission gear which connects the rotor to the generator drive shaft. Its function is to increase the low speed at which the rotor turns to the greater speed required by the electric generator.
  • Anemometer and wind vane
    At the top of the gondola there is a wind vane which turns the gondola into the wind, and an anemometer which measures the wind speed, adapting all the operating systems of the turbine.
  • Generator
    The function of the generator is to generate electrical energy by transforming the mechanical energy from the rotor. This power can be used in isolation or distributed to the electricity grid.