The need for alternative fuel sources has been a topic of hot debate and dire concern for decades. It is only as we reach points of energy catastrophe and economic peril that the issue is taken seriously. Researchers and scientists in many countries have been planning for this time with research and practice in wind farms. The United States, the European Union and the United Kingdom have all begun investing in wind technology.
Wind farms are housed both onshore and offshore. Off shore wind farms are a relatively new occurrence with the largest being off the coast of Scotland. The turbines are placed in rows along the ocean floor in shallow waters close to shore. California’s central valley has been home to wind farms for almost 30 years. The wind generated in the central valley is fed into the public energy grid. Because wind is an intermittent energy source it is often used as an energy supplement.
The United Kingdom has taken steps to map a future powered by off shore wind farms. The shelved sea floor off the coast of Great Britain is ideal for the placement of turbines. Massive off shore wind farms have not been built in the U.S. yet. However, the topography of the ocean floor surrounding the United States might be a limiting factor. Gigantic underwater canyons and steep drops will be keeping wind farms off of the U.S. pacific coast.
Off shore wind power generation is more consistent than onshore wind turbines because winds at sea are more consistent, stronger, and the turbines can be much larger. However, offshore wind generated power is only one piece of the wind power puzzle. Benefits of onshore power farms are sources of income for landowners, tax benefits, and job creation.
Wind power has the capacity to produce more than 100 billion kilowatt hours worldwide yearly. The main hindrance to this wind generated power technologies lies in the cost of the turbines. The rate at which the turbines pay themselves off however is faster than any other power producing mechanism.
Interest in wind power is global. Denmark, Australia, India and even Morocco already have wind farms generating portions of their countries power. Many experts in alternative fuels believe that wind power will be an excellent option for fostering independence in developing nations.
Wind generated power projects are generally funded by governments and non governmental organizations world wide. Employment outlooks for this sector are increasing especially with the U.S. President Obama committing more funding to the industries of alternative energy production. The American Wind Energy Associate estimates that 4.8 jobs will be created for every 1 mega watt of wind power installed.
Originally posted 2009-05-05 08:46:30.