Windpaper - 1Clements Kaity Clements Physics 104 Energy...

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1Clements Kaity Clements Physics 104 February 10, 2013 Energy Paper With the ever-increasing demand for energy in Utah, it is time to explore more options to meet this state’s future needs. Areas that could and should be looked into include wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear power. Wind power is likely the simplest and one of the cleanest forms of energy. A wind turbine is the most common type to create energy and it works by converting kinetic energy into mechanical power. A generator then changes this power into usable electricity. Wind energy is described as “the opposite of a fan. Instead of using electricity to make wind, like a fan, wind turbines use wind to make electricity. The wind turns the blades, which spin a shaft, which connects to a generator and makes electricity (windeis.anl.gov).” There are a variety of different kinds of wind power. This includes horizontal axis and vertical axis wind turbines as well as turbines on and off shore. Most modern windmills like the ones located on farms or in the ocean are of the horizontal axis variety and are composed of several parts. There’s the blade that changes the energy in the wind to rotational shaft energy, a drive train, which has a gearbox and generator, and a tower that supports all of the other components. Turbines come in a variety of sizes and power ratings. Some have blades spanning more than a hundred yards and can power 1,400 homes. Other smaller turbines generate enough power for only one home or small business. Turbines are typically grouped together on “wind
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2Clements farms” and generate a large amount of electrical power. There are many advantages to using wind power to generate electricity. Because it’s all natural and fueled by the wind, it is an abundant clean fuel source that does not negatively impact water or air and is completely renewable. There are zero emissions associated with wind energy, so it does not contribute to poor air quality, global warming or acid rain. Farmers can continue to utilize the land while collecting rent from the wind farmers, as the turbines take a relatively small amount of space and are an efficient use of land; and because of the rural location of wind farms, smaller communities get an economic benefit from the production. A typical 250 MW wind farm (around 100 turbines) will create 1,073 jobs over the lifetime of the project. Wind power also does not impact wildlife and on average a bird will only collide with a turbine every eight to fifteen years. Wind power is also a very versatile type of energy. Once a site has been selected and the permits have gone through, installations can be completed in a few months. This allows for phased growth, and your production capacity can easily be increased a little bit at a time as your needs change.
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