Wind is an air movement from high to low pressure areas. The main reason of this phenomenon is Sun, which unequally warming Earth surface. When hot air rise up, cold air move and displace hot air. As long as the sun is shining, wind will blow. And as long as the wind will blow, people will use it in many ways to support their life’s.
Ancient sailors used sails to catch wind and explore the world. Farmers used wind to clean grains, pump water or in field irrigation. Nowadays, the technology progress increases using wind as a source of electrical energy Over the last decade the use of wind turbines increased by more than 20 percent per year.
Modern wind-power engineering
Most of the energy produced in the world comes from large wind turbines, built of a rotor mounted on a high tower and connected to an electrical generator. Wind turns the turbine blades and the generator converts the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity. As the winds at the surface of the Earth are usually low speed, the power of generated current can be increased either by extending the rotor diameter and tower height. Single wind turbines produce enough energy to power hundreds of homes.
Wind is the one of the cleanest renewable energy source. It doesn’t pollute water, soil or environment. It is also cost free, as so, after energy plant is build, obtaining energy become practically free. Constant technological progress it the field of wind energy causes, that every year power generating devices are becoming cheaper and more efficient.
A new approach to the environment
The population of our planet has exceeded 7 billion people. We all aim to continuous development of civilization . We live in the times of the world greatest technological progress in the history. In addition to many advantages this situation has also a powerful drawbacks. As a civilization we have big influence on our planet. We leave ecological footprint, which can be measured by an amount of resources, that we consume or a rate of pollution that we cause. At the same time we notice that beside of our development we have to secure chances for future generations to achieving their needs. We pay more and more attention to reduce harmfulness of our continuous use of electricity. Therefore the number of States, that recognize the need to reduce pollution and emission of dangerous substances, is increasing. European Union is among them and united countries have already adopted climate policies aimed at protecting the environment. There are commitments regarding reduction of CO2 emission and ecological methods of generation energy and heat, which are imposed on UE Members.
Why wind power ?
Research and analysis shows that wind power is currently the only technology that enables execution of EU obligations. Actually it has about 58 percent share of the installed RES plants capacity in Poland.
Wind energy is the one of the cheapest technological solution options to reduce CO2 emissions. For modern systems of coal gasification and for IGCC gas turbines , direct emission averaged 755 kg CO2/MWh, while for wind energy they are zero. In case of calculating the cumulative emissions by the full life cycle of technology (LCA) method, above indicators are adequately: for wind energy 11-14 kg CO2/MWh, for coal IGCC 855 kg CO2/MWh and in case of the annex CCS instalation -270 kg of CO 2 / MWh. Through the introduction of wind power, the cost of reducing CO2 emissions, calculated using conservative assumptions, are 14.5 to 22.1 €/t CO2. These values are much lower than costs of allowances acquisition of the CO2 emissions, that are planned by 2020 under the European ETS system.
Economic efficiency of various energy technologies for the average conditions across the EU was presented in the document of Commission of the European Communities: ” Energy Sources, Production Costs and Performance of Technologies for Power Generation, Heating and Transport “, which is attached to the ” Second Strategic Energy Review “. This document contains a comparison of costs and efficiency of various energy technologies, including renewable energy systems from the standpoint of economy and greenhouse gas emissions . The basic indicators, which were used to compare cost-effectiveness of individual technologies, were capital expenditures, operating costs and total production costs. The key findings of the report are showed below:
- Wind Power is the cheapest land for investments in electricity production technology,
- Wind Power has the lowest range of investment among compared technologies of generating electricity from RES (biomass, biogas, photovoltaic, wind farms)
- Wind Power generates the lowest operating costs (by an order of magnitude lower than biomass utilization technologies)
- Wind Power is a technology leader in comparison with the costs of energy production from conventional sources
- production costs of Wind Power in 2020 should reach a level comparable to the costs of production in nuclear power plants , but they will be lower than any other electricity generating technologies from the coal, gas and oil burning and in all accepted scenarios of changes in the fossil fuels prices
- wind farms are built in the shortest time, comparable with the use of landfill gas installations, in twice time shorter than biomass CHP systems, four times shorter than hydropower and six times shorter than nuclear power plants.
Better position of wind industry is largely due to its high technological maturity, increasing productivity and cost competitiveness in comparison to other renewable technologies used in Poland.
In order to fulfill the commitments that Poland made to the EU, it is estimated that wind turbines with a total capacity of 6 000 MW should be installed. At the end of June 2012, the installed capacity of wind energy in Poland came to 2,188.941 MW. This means that in the last few years only part of the planned increase in RES power have been realized.