Individual Wind Turbines

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Wind And Solar Energy Info

Wherever they may be located, wind farms are now being seen as the modern equivalent to the old coal power plant. Scores of wind turbines all working in unison can now be seen both on and offshore throughout the world, but a wind turbine does not need a friend to be useful.

Wind farms are incredibly productive, as anything that combines a singular might will be. However, there is still a place for the individual wind turbine being used to power a specific area. One wind turbine alone can generate a lot of electricity. For example, a singular wind turbine in Reading, England generates enough power to satisfy the electricity demands of 1,000 homes nearby.

Individual wind turbines also have an advantage over wind farms in that they do not require a lot of space. Numerous wind turbines combined to create a wind farm will require acres of land on which to erect the turbines and their electricity generators; just one wind turbine obviously only needs a fraction of this space. For this reason, individual wind turbines are being considered a viable solution for urban areas, where there is not enough floor space to erect anything more than a singular turbine.

While it is unlikely the future includes the idea of every street having its own wind turbine generating close-by electricity, the idea of individual wind turbines is growing. We could well see a day when town planning includes the usual wind turbine to generate electricity, and from an environmental point of view alone, this is wonderful progress.

The Disadvantages of Solar Power

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Wind And Solar Energy

We all constantly hear how good solar power is, but one cannot present a convincing argument without looking at both sides of the story. While solar power has many benefits, it also has its drawbacks.

The first is also the most obvious. Namely, that the sun does not always shine. While cool weather and overcast days do not cause solar panels to stop functioning entirely, such conditions will reduce their output. For this reason alone, the likelihood of solar power being the only solution to the energy crisis of the future is slim. It is simply not possible, even in the hottest regions, to depend on solar energy entirely for a country’s electricity supply.

This is an important consideration, but not one that is particularly dominant if you are merely thinking of having solar panels installed on your roof. In the average home owners case, the demands on your solar panels will be far less than an entire country could generate. You will not be expecting it to power your home entirely forevermore, so providing you acknowledge the possible limitations of solar panels during the coldest and wettest months, you should be able to get by.

The other important disadvantage of solar power is the cost. Again using the idea of an average home owner; the installation of panels and conversion of your energy sources is a time consuming and costly process. While you will eventually recoup any investment by saving on your usual utility bills, for many the up front costs are prohibitive.

However, while these considerations are not small, they do not mean that solar power is not one of the most viable ways of generating renewable energy. The sun is our greatest resource, and it is somewhat surprising it has taken until now for us to utilise it fully.

How Reliable Is Solar Power?

August 24, 2009 by  
Filed under Wind And Solar Energy

With solar power being flaunted as one of the realistic alternatives to the burning of fossil fuels, it is only natural that enlightened thoughts are turning to the reliability of the energy it can create. After all, the sun is an intermittent energy source. It does not always shine, with most countries experiencing cloud cover for large portions of the year. There is also the issue that the sun is only available for, at most, 12 hours out of every 24. Could the world’s energy demands really be sustained from what seems like such an unreliable heat source?

The answer is probably no, which is why solar energy is only being spoken of as one of the options for continued energy production. However, solar energy is one of the most viable of the options mentioned, even if it could not meet the entire world’s demands for energy by itself.

The reason for this is simple; the sun is a constant. The sun will continue to shine for as long as there is life on earth; by the time the sun begins to dim, the earth as we know it will begin to die. Unlike the expendable resources of coal and oil, this makes the sun very dependable – it will be here for as long as the world will.

The sun is also relatively easy to ‘tap’ into, as it shines directly onto earth and needs no human interaction for it to work to its full potential. While manufacturing solar panels can be expensive, they are relatively hassle free once created, and the only engineering they require to function is to be pointed as directly as possible toward the sun. This is certainly more viable than having to dig into the earth for coal, or send rigs out to sea to collect oil.

Solar power is, therefore, a reliable energy source. How effective it is is a matter of debate, but one should largely assume that much – if not all – of the world’s demand for energy can be satisfied by our most powerful celestial friend.