Jun 2017

Wind Farms Limitations as Energy Platforms

June 5, 2017


For past many decades, the focus has been—and rightly so—on alternative power sources. One option is wind farms.

Wind farms use the same principle as hydroelectric power plants. The only difference being here the wind is utilized, not water. Wind Turbines catch the wind and use it to turn their blades. The turning motion starts up a generator which in turn produces electricity. The produced electrical energy is fed into the installed electrical grid, and viola, you get power!

Using the wind to produce energy is not a new concept. Centuries back Persian used the wind to turn grain grinding stones. While the concept is old, it has never been tried out on a large scale, at least not until very recently, as you would have surely learned in your JC Physics Tuition classes.  

Even today, wind farms are not used on a very large scale in too many places. Beneficial as wind farms are, they have certain limitations. What are those?

Well, let’s check out. And later we will also look at the advantages of wind farms.

Limitations of Wind Farms

  • Electricity is produced on a very large scale: This is perhaps the biggest limitation of wind energy farms. They can’t produce electricity at a scale required by modern cities.
  • They can’t be set up everywhere: Obviously, you can’t set up wind farms everywhere. Only places where wind speed is consistently good are viable options. The other limiting fact is space. Wind farms are spread over a large area. It is exceedingly difficult to find such a big place in big cities of industrialized countries.
  • Huge initial investment: Even when the cost of producing electricity from the wind has fallen drastically, there’s a huge initial investment required, more than what is needed to setup a conventional power plant.
  • Noise pollution: Wind turbines are noisy, to say the least. This is another reason why wind farms are usually set up far away from cities. Some also find wind turbines eye sore. This is more of a personal thing because many find the lines of wind turbines exotic.
  • Might damage Wildlife: Birds can get killed if they fly into huge spinning wind blades. Such instances do occur, however, the frequency has reduced, thanks to advancement in technology.

Advantages of Wind Farms

  • A clean fuel source: Power plants involve combustion of fossil fuels, like natural gas or coal, and so are bad for the environment. Wind farms, on the other hand, present no such problems. They are as clean as the pristine water of the mighty Himalayas.
  • Doesn’t require water: In many parts of the world, water is fast becoming scarce.  In such a scenario, replacing conventional power plants which use water on a big scale, with wind farms is a good idea.

Inexhaustible source: As you might already know from your physics tuition classes, the wind is an inexhaustible source of energy. We don’t have to worry about running out of wind ever! The same couldn’t be said about other things.

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