Energy from the Wind:

Wind is the response of the atmosphere to uneven heating conditions. Local topography (mountains) can enhance or restrict the natural wind flow.

While wind is certainly a renewable energy source, it is also an erratic one. Energy storage is probably more critical for wind power than for any other form of alternative energy.

Basics of Wind Energy:

For average atmospheric conditions of density and moisture contant:

Windmills can not operate at 100% efficiency because the structure itself impedes the flow of the wind

Clearly, wind power is a highly variable source and hence energy storage is crucial.

Rotary type windmills have high torque and are useful for pumping water

High speed propeller types have low torque and are most efficient at high rotational velocities --> useful for generation of electricity

Example calculation:

To Generate 10,000 KWH annual then from a 20 mph wind that blows 10% of the time

Wind Energy can be competitively priced:

Current Grid Connected Wind Power:

    Country/region          MW Installed
        United States   -       1700
        Denmark         -       520
        Germany         -       330
        United Kingdom  -       145
        Netherlands     -       132
        Spain           -       55
        Greece          -       35
        Italy           -       10
        Other OECD      -       70
        India           -       50
        China           -       25

Some aggressive goals for wind power:

Capacity in the US is Large

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