Why Do We Need Clean Energy?
Urbanization, industrialization, population growth and increased awareness amongst consumers have resulted in an energy demand that conventional fossil fuels can no longer sustain. Over the last 50 years, burning of non-renewable fossil fuels (coal/oil/gas) has caused more environmental damage at local, regional and global levels than any other human activity. Our carbon footprint has been slowly expanding over the past 2 centuries and we are now at a tipping point with regard to permanent environmental changes.
The Greenhouse Effect
The high levels of fossil fuels we burn each and every day has increased the level of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which is causing climate change, glacial melt, a rise in sea levels, and environmental pollution. Whether it be smog in China or glaciers breaking apart in the Antarctic, the incidents arising from having an overabundance of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere is a global problem. These facts are driving a significant consumer demand for alternative sources of clean energy. Neither can we afford to emit such levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, nor can we easily cope with the rising fuel prices. Moreover, the world’s supply of these non-renewable resources is diminishing and we are not left with any option other than to explore the various forms of renewable energy.
Clean Energy Alternatives
Nature has provided us many renewable sources of energy; we just need to be creative and incent businesses and governments to work together so that these sources become commercially viable. Solar energy, wind energy, geothermal energy, biomass energy, and hydro power are some of the most commonly used natural resources and can be used to generate energy without depleting the resource. Of all these resources, wind energy is the world’s fastest-growing and lowest cost renewable energy alternatives.
How Wind Energy is Converted into Electricity
Wind is a form of solar energy and is caused by air flowing from high pressure to low pressure, the irregularities of the earth's surface, ocean currents and rotation of the earth. Wind energy is 'harvested' by wind turbines, which convert the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical power. This mechanical power can be used to generate electricity. Wind turbines are identical to aircraft propeller blades, which are spun by air movement. This spinning of the blades then rotates a shaft, which moves a magnetic field in a generator. It is this generator that uses of electromagnetic induction to generate electricity. The amount of electricity generated through the wind turbines is mainly dependent on the wind speed and the amount of blade surface exposed to the wind. This electricity can either be used immediately or can be stored for later use.
This generated electricity can be used for powering a single home or building, or can even be connected to an electricity grid for more widespread electricity distribution. For widespread electricity distribution, commercial wind farms are built. Wind farms can be built on land or at sea and are located in areas with strong year-round winds and good access to transmission lines. In most of the cases the wind farm is managed by an independent power producer who generates electricity to sell to the local utility.
How You Can Purchase Wind Energy
With the present day competitiveness in electricity options, most utility companies now offer consumers the option of purchasing clean energy. You will need to request this from your current supplier.
Wind is available everywhere, it doesn’t cost any money; it does not create harmful emissions and is an important source of power generation. Although at the beginning wind turbines were inefficient, but with latest research and latest technologies in this field more and more people are using this alternative source of energy….making this switch is a large step in minimizing your carbon footprint and conserving our environment.