Offshore Wind Farms

August 24, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Wind And Solar Energy Tips

While we may all have seen wind farms on grassy fields, the most likely place for wind farms to really come into their full efficacy is out to sea. Off shore wind farms are becoming more common, and many experts predict they are the future of wind power.

The reason for this is simple: offshore, the wind is more powerful as it is not obstructed by surface objects. Particularly in deep water, the resistance on the surface of the water is minimal, and the wind can be extremely powerful. This was, of course, once utilised by sailing ships before the days of the engine, and this wind power is now finding a new purpose.

Offshore wind farms are built, as the name would suggest, in the sea. Turbines that look exactly the same as their onshore counterparts are erected into the sea bed, and protrude above the water line, with their blades in the open air catching the powerful winds. The energy generated is then transported back to shore using under sea pipes. It is a simple case of: more wind, more power generated.

These wind farms are more expensive to construct than typical onshore wind farms, as they involve placing the base of the turbine in the sea bed. This initial cost and workload is, however, rewarded by increased efficiency. The job is also made easier by offshore wind farms being built on areas of ocean that have naturally raised sections of the sea bed.

Offshore wind farms also solve the associated humanist issues with turbines – such as noise levels, shadow flight and aesthetic issues – and increase electricity production. Once more, man turns to the sea for its answers.

Wind Turbines and ‘Shadow Flicker’

August 24, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Featured, Wind And Solar Energy Tips

If you do not live near a wind turbine, it is unlikely you will have ever heard the term ‘shadow flicker’ in everyday usage. The problem however is being discussed fervently by those who reside near onshore wind farms, and the matter is having to be settled by the courts in some cases.

Like all large structures, wind turbines cast a shadow. If one lives near enough to an active wind farm, this shadow may fall on your home at various points of the day. To many homeowners, this in itself is annoying, particularly if they live in rural areas and did not expect to have to deal with shadows falling on their property.

However, this is not the sole concern of those living near an active wind turbine. Unlike almost every other type of structure, wind turbines have three rotating blades. In the case of shadows cast on to a house, these blades themselves cast a shadow. However, the blades are in motion, so the shadow is a constantly moving menace that is extremely disturbing to witness. The constant passing of this shadow can occur for hours per day, and if residents are at home during that time, there is no escape.

Many energy companies refuse to exist shadow flicker is a problem, which has lead to many residents forming action groups. The solution is actually very simple, as shadow flicker will not occur if a turbine is placed 3,000 feet away from the nearest home. However, some energy companies have placed certain turbines as close to residences as 1,100 feet. Many anticipate changes in the law will prevent this from happening again, based on the evidence presented by annoyed existing residents who have to live with shadow flicker.

The Effect of Wind Turbines on Humans

August 24, 2009 by admin  
Filed under Wind And Solar Energy Tips

Wind turbines and farms are becoming an evermore familiar sight on the landscape, and while generally accepted as a useful resource for electricity generation, they have not been without their critics.

One of the major criticisms of wind farms is that they are damaging to the humans who live near them. This effect is both psychological and physical, though there is more evidence for the former. The issue of physical health problems caused by living near a wind farm are a matter of much debate in the medical community.

The psychological problems are more basic. Many of those living near a wind farm find it difficult to sleep due to the noise of the turbines. While the noise is not excessive (it equates roughly to the noise of medium-level traffic, which most of us ignore without thinking) it can be annoying for those in rural areas. As wind farms are more likely to be erected in rural areas – where the general noise level is much lower than cities – there have been complaints over the noise generated. The problem, however, is not considered to be substantial.

The physical health concerns are far more rare, and generally centre around the low-threshold noise produced by wind turbines. Continued exposure to very low noise can upset the inner ear and cause problems such as headaches, but there is no reputable study that has proven wind farms are the cause of this.

When wind turbines are erected, they do pose a minor danger to those living near by. If a brake on a turbine fails, the turbine can have blades spin loose and scatter. For this reason, turbines are constantly monitored and if one appears to be in trouble, all efforts will be made to close it down before a problem occurs.