Can renewable energy sources power the world?
Can renewable energy sources power the world?

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Week 6: Wind energy

Introduction

Wind energy has been used for thousands of years for milling grain, pumping water and other mechanical power applications. But it is the use of wind energy as a pollution-free means of generating electricity on a significant scale that is attracting most current interest in the subject.

This week you will look at modern wind energy technology, at the atmospheric processes that power it, and ways of calculating wind power and energy. You will also look at the environmental impact of turbines, at offshore wind power, and at the economics and future potential of wind technology.

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By the end of this week, you will be able to:

  • describe at an introductory level the main aspects of wind energy including the relationship between wind speed frequency distribution and electricity production
  • define the terms cut-in wind speed, rated wind speed, shut-down wind speed and rated power
  • describe at an introductory level the main current types of wind turbines and how they operate
  • understand at an introductory level the environmental and social effects, beneficial and deleterious, of wind energy development.


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