Research Paper On Wind Energy - Environmental Science

1042 words - 5 pages

Wind energy is a form of solar energy that is caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere, the rotation of the Earth, and the unevenness of the Earth's surface. According to the United States Energy Information Administration (EIA), wind energy powered six point three percent of our electricity in 2017. As a country, the United States only uses renewable resources for seventeen percent of our power for electricity (EIA). The United States has plenty of wind and other renewable resources to use, but they decide to use mostly nonrenewable resources like oil and coal. The wind is a valuable resource that needs to be used more often throughout the world and in the United States.

We obtain wind energy through wind turbines. There are two types of wind turbines, upwind and downwind turbines. Upwind turbines have the rotor facing toward the wind while the downwind turbines are turned away from the wind. Basically, wind turbines are a rotor with propeller-like blades and the main shaft, or tower, that power a generator by causing it to spin. In more detail, wind turbines include fifteen different parts. The first two parts are the blades and hub that create the rotor. Two other parts are the high- and low-speed shafts that help drive the generator. There is the gearbox that helps connect the low- and high-speed shafts and increases the speed from thirty to sixty revolutions per minute (rpm) to one thousand to one thousand eight hundred rpm. The generator produces sixty-cycle alternating current (AC) electricity and the anemometer measures the wind speed to send to the controller. With that information, the controller starts the wind turbines at eight to sixteen miles per hour (mph) and stops them at fifty-five mph. Pitch systems are used to turn the blades away from the wind to control the rotor speed. There are wind vanes to help measure the wind's direction and communicate to the yaw drive that orients the turbine correctly. Yaw drives are not needed in downwind turbines. The yaw motor is what is used to power the yaw drive and the tower, made out of tubular steel, is the main support for the turbine. Finally, the brake is meant to stop the turbine in case of emergency and the nacelle contains the gearbox, low- and high-speed shafts, the generator, the controller, and the brake.

The use of wind energy has both its advantages and disadvantages. I will start with its advantages. One of the best benefits of wind energy is its effect on the economy. First of all, it created around 100,000 jobs for U.S. citizens in 2016 according to the Department of Energy (DOE), and has the potential to provide an estimated 600,000 jobs in 2050 (Wind Vision Report). It is also cost-effective as one of the lowest-priced energy resources today according to the Wind Energy Technologies Office. The wind has around a twenty billion dollar annual economic impact on the United States economy and helps the industry and competitiveness of the United States grow. Final...

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