Recognizing The Potential Of Wind Energy As A Viable And Profitable Source of Energy Production

Aug 9 08:22 2011 Cory Sober Print This Article

Large scale wind farms face two significant hurdles when being considered as a viable source of energy production. Current technology used in developing large scale wind turbines has made long term maintenance and operation much more efficient, but our dependance on fossil fuels is holding us back.

Both government and industry are searching for the most efficient environmentally friendly and sustainable methods to generate energy. Society's love affair with cheap power has had far reaching consequences including the over reliance on fossil fuels which has had negative impacts on climate,Guest Posting habitats, and the lives of millions of people around the world. Though wind turbines have been used in various forms for centuries, there is now a renewed interest in the potential they have for supplying a large amount of energy.The ability to harness wind energy for power has been attracting a great deal of attention, especially in the US. The United States now produces more wind power than any other nation, and it is predicted that by 2030, around twenty per cent of the nation's supply will be sourced through this technology. In 2009 alone, thirty nine percent more capacity was added by the US wind power industry. This industry holds a lot of promise and a great deal of potential, however there are also obvious problems that this sector faces.There are two main concerns regarding renewable wind energy as a sustainable source of power production. First of these concerns is sustainability. As everyone knows, the wind does not always blow. For this reason, many governments are unwilling to invest heavily in the latest turbines as there is no guarantee that they will be efficient, especially for countries that rely heavily on the export of their natural resources as their main source of economic growth. Their argument is that there would still be a need to have back up systems in place to cover any periods when there is no breeze.The second concern is a combination of location and cost of operating a large scale wind project. Typically, the places where winds blow the most consistently are fairly remote. For example, steady winds are usually located at the top of mountains, out at sea, and across remote plains.This is a problem that is highlighted in Texas, the country's leading state for producing wind-power. West Texas is where the speeds and gusts are most constant, specifically on the high plains and mesas, but these regions are a considerable distance from Houston and Dallas, and installing the necessary power and utilities are difficult and expensive. There is a lot of interest in positioning turbines offshore, though this is more expensive than onshore, data indicates that the breeze out at sea is both stronger and more constant than onshore. Offshore wind farms do make it possible to create large scale wind power facilities close to large coastal settlements, without the need for costly and extensive overland transmission cables. Also, by positioning the turbines at sea, they are not the eyesore that they would be if installed on land.Cost of repair and maintenance at these locations can also be costly. However, new technology has enabled wind farm operators to assess, detect and repair large wind turbines without extended downtime and exorbitant costs that result in loss of profit. This means that the positioning of wind farms isn't as much of a problem as curbing the current governmental  mindset that fossil fuels are a necessity. The cost of extracting fossil fuels is becoming more expensive on an annual basis, yet the demand from consumers is showing absolutely no sign of decline. Sustainable power may be the solution that keeps the economy buoyant in the coming decades. With more efficient turbines being constructed on an ongoing basis, the prevalence of wind technology is only going to grow. The real trick is showing both government and consumer that wind energy is cost effective as not only an efficient long term energy production method, but viable source of revenue.

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Cory Sober
Cory Sober

Cory Sober is the IT Director for UpWind Solutions, a full-service operations and maintenance provider for utility-scale wind turbine companies. He is part of a highly trained team focused on maximizing long-term productivity of wind turbines, and as a result, delivering a higher return on investment for wind energy projects.

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