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Ecology 1000 Notes UNIT 3Friday, October 10, 2013Lecture 10: Alternative Energy- Wind & HydroRenewable Energy ConsumptionoHydropower 57%oBiomass (not including firewood- which is a huge source globally) 23%oSolar 9%oWind 7%oGeothermal 4%Wind Power oWindmill-blade works like an airplane wing, and turns a generator oAvailable in almost all parts of the worldoWind- The movement of air from uneven heating of surfaces oGeography and Topography cause uneven heating of earth oWinds formed from high to low pressure oWhere is the greatest potential in the US? - The Southwest (ex: Texas) Energy 101 VIDEO:oIdeal place for windmills: desert next to tall mountains (lots of potential for winds) oThe shape of the windmill blades causes uneven pressure which makes the windmill turn towards the wind oThe blades are connected to a shaft, but that alone is not fast enough-connected to a turbine with gears to make it faster & produce more energy oTurbine blades –can sweep an area of up to 130ft (as long as a football field) Winds of Change-Denmark oLeading country in wind power technology o5 ½ million people- one of the greenest countries on earth o5,500 windmills across the countryoWindmills are built offshore because the wind is higher off shore than on land oGenerates 40 megawatts of power-enough for 40,000 Copenhagen homes drewoHypocrisy-8% of their energy is imported nuclear power & they heavily rely on coal oProblem with wind power-not always reliable Conservation and Innovation can be Profitable o2/3 of wind power in US: Texas, California, Iowa, Minnesota, and WashingtonoWind farms: clusters of turbines oCurrently produce less than 0.5% of global electricity needs o~6% of the total renewable energy oBut, fastest growing renewable sector (10x increase in last decade) Advantages oNo fuel needed (no drilling, wastes, etc.) oNo pollutants released (CO2, NO2, SO2)oDomestic energy source oNot subject to disruptions of single energy plants Disadvantages oBird and bat deaths (may interfere with bird movement corridors)oThe windmills are often in the wind paths that birds use, and they fly into the windmills causing injury and death oBut this is a smaller issue when compared to issues that arise with other forms of energy oAesthetics?-
People claim they can’t sleep or live with the noise of the windmills Have to be away from neighborhoods-but the farther away they are from homes, the harder it is to get the energy to those people without losing the electricity oIntermittent wind- the wind doesn’t blow everywhere, all day Use offshore locations? Better solution since there is more wind on the water, but harder to get the electricity to land locations HydropowerCapturing the energy of water moving under the force of gravity 1.Impoundment plants (Dams) a.Just build a wall that stops flowing waterb.Some of the water goes through a pipe into a turbine and generator c.Turns a wheel that creates electricity-goes into long distance power lines d.The rest goes back into the river