Coming with the wind
“Gone with the wind” is an old adage. The latest winds bring with them a ‘wealth’ of opportunity and earnings. Whether the winds are picking up or not, the wind energy industry is galloping towards its peak. Like all renewable sources of energy, wind energy helps share the weight of power requirements across the world in an environmentally non-intrusive manner. Here’s this article to throw light on the latest trends to become more wealthy as a nation/world, by using renewable sources of energy, such as wind. Money saved is money earned, right?
How big is big enough?
As you all might already know, energy could be harvested through natural winds turning blades of a fan that is connected to a turbine, thereby generating electricity. It is not different from how an electromagnetic generator functions, or how a dynamo in a cycle/car functions to generate electricity enough to run a headlight or charge a battery. However, to generate enough power to overcome losses of storage and transmission and make an installation feasible, the capacity of the wind turbine plant must be substantial to meet domestic and industrial power requirements. And, installations of up to 5-6 MW platforms are not rare these days. However, these do involve larger turbines, bigger lands, and larger and more efficient storage/transmission mechanisms.
Why store what comes for free?
Unlike other industries, the power industry has to accurately meet demand, neither more nor less, since it is cumbersome to store energy for a rainy day. Traditionally, the excess supply has been stored in grid storage, which is a bank of batteries. And, grid storage is an essential part of energy distribution as an uninterrupted power supply could not be achieved without batteries backing up excess demands. Yet batteries have physical and technical limitations as they have known to be bulky, and inefficient. However, with the path-breaking advancements in technology to increase efficiency while reducing the space they occupy, batteries are becoming more useful in shouldering the requirement of supplying energy on-demand, thereby shielding the power generation plants. And, batteries are more vital to the renewable energy setup than to the more traditional thermal energy setup, since you have to make hay while the sun shines, or set sail while the wind blows.
How do you take the horse to the pond?
Power transmission and distribution is a lousy affair, and if the power generation happens in remote locations, it makes it a messy affair as well. Installation of wind turbines in remote locations is the norm, as turbines need unrestricted spaces and large areas to operate efficiently. If turbines are installed for local consumption, of the adjoining village or town, it is still fine. However, if the plants are designed to contribute to a central grid, they must absorb the cost of transmission losses. While losses could be cut down by increasing the diameter of the conducting wire, it is only an empirical advantage and contributes to greater costs as well. To improve efficiencies of power transmission, collaborative research is ongoing using HVDC converter stations, and Smart Grid technologies are taking shape as well. (Link) The latest trend is to deploy wind energy farms off-shore, where the winds are more predictable, constant, and at high speeds. (Link)
The sheer numbers
While China is the world leader in wind energy production, it has caught on like a storm since the previous millennium in India, with the country being the 4th largest producer of wind energy in the world having an installed capacity of around 39 GW, which is 10% of India’s energy requirement. (Link) And, along with solar energy, wind energy is one of the cheapest to produce, the cost being $0.04 per kWh, which is, at best, at least half the cost of producing energy from fossil fuels. (Link)
Conclusion To meet with the constantly rising energy demands, the world must adapt to and invest in newer technologies to help deliver uninterrupted power and do so in a way that does not disrupt the environment. Traditional power generation plant technologies, such as Thermal energy, and Diesel energy are disruptive to the environment and also feast on natural resources. However, while it’s easy to say that renewable energy sources are the way forward, the practical impediments to delivering power seamlessly are apparent. Greater energy demands would impose newer challenges, and it shall be an endless race, to which we have to play catch-up. But, it must be said that technologies are ever-improving and fast-adapting to the needs of tomorrow to ensure that we bridge the gap while ensuring a cleaner environment for the future.
Navsar is a progressive business house offering a bouquet of services and solutions for the Power & Infrastructure industry. Since our founding, Navsar has advised, executed, and managed a diverse set of Conventional, non-conventional power projects. Working with professionals from top-tier EPC and Consulting firms, Navsar aims to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and value of client’s assets.
Petl is a unit of Navsar Engineering Private Ltd – offering a bouquet of services in renewable energy with a special focus on Solar, Wind, Waste-to-energy, and Emerging Technologies. Petl aims to be a key catalyst in making our lives greener, sustainable, and accessible. Our extensive service range and robust implementation process make it easy to own and maintain. Visit www.petl.in to know more about services in the Renewable Energy Space
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