The commercial success of wind turbines to produce electricity led to the evolution of wind farms. The collection of numerous wind turbines installed within an extended area of square kilometers is known as wind farm or Wind Park. Connected through a medium voltage, the wind turbines at a wind farm can vary from a small number to several hundreds. Here is a discussion to help you learn about important aspects of wind farms.
Types of Wind Farms
The wind farms can be classified on the basis of their location. Mountains and hilly areas have been the original choice to setup these farms, popularly known as the onshore wind parks. Individual wind turbines at these farms contribute towards power generation of 100 MW or more.
Here is a list of some of the popular onshore wind turbine farms:
- Brazos Wind Farm in West Texas
- Lake Bonney Wind Farm
- Shiloh Wind Power Plant
- Altamont Pass Wind Farm
- Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm
- Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center and so on.
The land occupied by the wind parks are often used for agriculture or animal grazing. Denmark, Spain and Portugal are some of the leading countries in the onshore wind farm electricity production.
Offshore wind farms are the results of revolutionary technology that has encouraged man to set up wind energy harvesting farms on the water surface. Apart from oceans, lakes also act as sites for the installation of wind parks. An advantage of offshore wind farm is that it makes use of powerful winds blowing over the water surface. Moreover, it is easy to transport huge parts of a wind turbine to the offshore sites using big ships and vessels. Some of the other advantages of these farms include mitigation of noise due to distance from land and higher capacity factors.
Some of the popular offshore wind parks are:
- Barrow Offshore Wind
- Horns Rev
- Kentish Flats
- Nysted Wind Farm
- Lynn and Inner Dowsing and many more
The United Kingdom is the nation that leads in electricity generation using offshore wind parks. Denmark, Sweden and Netherlands are other countries that follow.
A near-shore wind farm is the third type of farms used for harvesting wind power. As suggested by its name, a near-shore wind farm is installed near the shore, thus making use of land and see breezes to turn the turbines. In future, you might come across air-borne wind farms, with wind turbines requiring no towers for installation.
Planning a Wind Farm
The success of wind farms depend upon the location selected to set them up. Hence, location planning is an important task while building up a wind farm. Wind power density is an important consideration while selecting an area for wind parks. Annual power density is taken into account before finalizing the location. Some of the other factors that can help in selection of a site of wind farm include:
- General wind speed in the area, calculated using anemometers and other setups.
- Altitude or the height of the area above the sea level
- Possible obstructions like trees and buildings
- Area available, so that enough distances can be maintained among various wind turbines
- Ease of installing power grid, so that the power produced can be transported to desirable places.
Wind farms can pose threat to migratory birds and bats and thus, these concerns also contribute towards the selection of their sites.
In the European Union, Germany and Spain are two nations with huge production of wind power through wind farms. However, the United Kingdom is expected to take over other countries in the continent in future. Denmark, Italy, Portugal and Ireland are other European countries, touching new horizons in this direction. The United States is leading the world with a number of wind farm setups to its credit. The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Texas is the world’s largest wind farm with as many as 421 wind turbines and production capacity of 735 megawatts.
Australia, China, Japan, India, Brazil, Philippines and New Zealand are other countries that are becoming powerful in the field of wind power production. So, the revolution of wind energy as an alternative source of energy has influenced every part of the world.
Wind farms are expected to greatly reduce the air pollution in the future by completely replacing the unclean sources of energy with a clean source called wind. So, we can expect the green energy to rule the world that would be inhabited by the future generations.