RENEWABLE ENERGY TECHNOLOGIES

 

 

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Energy from the Wind                          

The power of the wind has been used for centuries ... to pump water, drive machinery and grind corn, and yet today we often refer to wind power as "alternative" technology!  

Most traditional wind machines have a large number of blades or sails.  This allows them to turn in a low wind and move against a heavy load.  Wind driven water pumps like this multi-blade are still common in parts of Africa, Australia and USA.  However, this type of design can never rotate very quickly and so is of little use in electricity generation.

Modern electricity generating wind machines, or aero generators, were developed about thirty years ago; they have fewer blades and need stronger winds to start them turning, but once in motion are capable of rotating much more quickly.  Most aero generators also have a braking system for controlling the speed of the rotor and shutting down automatically in dangerously high winds.

Wind technology comes in two sizes - large scale wind turbine "farms" generating electricity to feed into the national or regional distribution grid, and smaller scale installations generating power for local or community projects.

Wind turbines can be considered unsightly in areas of natural beauty and there are problems of noise pollution.  However research has shown that a majority of people consider wind farms more pleasing than electric pylons or smoking chimneys.  

 

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