Wind power is a clean, renewable source of electricity which produces no CO2 emissions or waste products.
Wind turbines use the wind's lift forces to rotate aerodynamic blades that turn a rotor (90m diameter for 3 MW machines) to which an electrical generator connected.
Wind generators suitable for domestic buildings range from kilowatt-sized machines whilst utility-scale turbines for use in the national grid range from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts (1 megawatt = 1,000 kilowatts).
At present the average size of new machines being installed is 1.5 to 2 MW rated capacity with 3 MW becoming available and 5 MW machines being tested. The trend is towards moving to these larger machines. Larger turbines are grouped together into wind farms, which provide bulk power to the national grid.
In the UK we have 40% of Europe's wind energy.
The long-term potential for wind power (onshore and offshore) in the UK is considerable. Wind power is an enormous, large-scale, reliable source of power that's already having a major positive impact on renewable energy power generation.
Government figures suggest that more than 25% of today's electricity consumption could be provided by wind power by 2025 - and that to do it would be both economic and practical.
With over 27 year's experience, the British Wind Energy Association (BWEA) is the UK's leading renewable energy association, representing 320 companies active in the sector. BWEA is leading the UK debate on wind energy and marine renewables and is leading the phased development of new wind energy capacity on behalf of the UK offshore wind industry.
There are three strategic areas around the UK coastline:
* The Greater Wash, off the East of England coast
* The North West, including the Liverpool Bay area
* The Thames Estuary.
Offshore wind is a larger-scale, more technologically challenging and expensive undertaking than onshore wind. However, it has huge potential due to the UK's excellent offshore wind resource, which is stronger and more consistent than the wind resource onshore, leading to higher power outputs per turbine and more hours spent generating each year.
For more information please download a Wind Power Factfile provided by The Institution of Engineering and Technology (www.theiet.org/factfiles) or visit these websites:
www.theiet.org/factfiles/energy/wind.cfm?type=pdf to download the Wind Power Factfile