Learn all about wind energy: Its advantages, what it is and how it works

Wind energy takes advantage of the power of the wind to produce electricity, but... Do you know how it does this? We will explain all about this renewable energy and how it is becoming a real alternative to more traditional sources.

Have you ever stopped to think about everything there is behind turning on a switch? It looks easy, but many people have begun to ask themselves that question and to have a greater interest in knowing where their energy comes from, as well as knowing whether it comes from green and clean energy sources. 

Wind energy in Spain already accounts for 21.9% of the electricity consumed. This percentage will grow continuously so we can reach our goal of decarbonisation and meet our commitment to renewable energies.

If we add to that an ideal environment to generate electricity in a clean and sustainable way, the outlook for the coming years is very hopeful.

 

What is wind energy?

Wind energy is a renewable energy source that is generated by the power of the wind and produced by wind turbines installed in the different wind farms.

Wind energy uses the power of the wind to transform it into mechanical energy as a result of causing the mill's blades to move. This mechanical energy is then converted into electricity by means of a generator that works with a turbo magnet to create the electrical voltage.

We know very well that human beings have used this source of energy in the past. We know that, between the 6th and 11th centuries AD, the Middle East was the region that most opted for mechanisms that favoured the use of wind for certain tasks, especially for grinding cereals. In Europe it did not appear until the 13th century AD and its use also focused on agricultural work.

However, the expansion of other methods of supplying energy pushed wind power into the background. It was not until people became aware of the environment that, well into the twentieth century and to this day, the idea of generating clean and renewable energy from wind power was taken up again.

At this moment in time, there are more than 1,200 wind farms in Spain. With the exception of Madrid and the autonomous cities of Ceuta and Melilla, ¡Spain's entire geography has areas enabled to generate wind energy. The number of parks is led by the two Castile Regions and Galicia. And globally, only China, the United States, Germany and India are ahead of Spain.

"Wind energy in Spain already accounts for 21.9% of the electricity consumed."

How does wind power work?

The renowned mills in wind farms, called wind turbines, are responsible for collecting kinetic energy from the wind and starting the process of obtaining electricity.

The four essential parts of each wind turbine are:

  1. The blades: also called shovels, they collect the power of the wind and transform it into mechanical energy.
  2. The rotor: this is the part where the three blades join and its function is to transmit movement.
  3. The multiplier: this is responsible for changes in the machine's speed.
  4. The generator: this is responsible for transforming mechanical energy into electricity.

These wind turbines have a useful life of about 25 years. They are between 25 and 100 metres high, and in the case of large, modern wind turbines, the rotors can be up to 90 metres long.

 

Types of Energy Wind Turbines

There are a number of types of wind turbine depending on how they harness wind energy to produce electricity. Some are horizontal, some are vertical and there are even some without blades.

 

1. Horizontal wind turbines

Horizontal wind turbines are the famous mills that you see in wind farms. For the moment, they are the most efficient electricity generators when it comes to using wind energy to obtain electricity. 

The strength of the wind determines how much energy is obtained. The rotational motion of the blades (kinetic energy) is transmitted through a velocity multiplier, which transfers the energy to a generator and that is where the electricity is produced.

 

2. Vertical wind turbines

They feature a rotor with multidirectional blades in a vertical position. This enables them to generate electricity anywhere and regardless of the direction of the wind.

This type of wind turbine is attracting great interest, since its shape enables it to be installed without the need for large areas of land, as is the case for wind farms.

Even though they are not yet very efficient, some designs have great potential to become a renewable energy source for urban areas following the principles of sustainable construction.

 

3. Wind turbines without blades

Finally, and more recently, bladeless wind turbines have emerged and these are a technological revolution. Unlike wind turbines with blades, these do not rotate because they do not have blades, but they oscillate with the wind.

This oscillation enables them to take advantage of the energy from the wind. The power of the wind causes this type of wind turbine to enter into resonance due to an aerodynamic effect that is known as vortex shedding. Have you noticed how a car's radio aerial moves at certain speeds? Imagine that aerial is a wind turbine. The passage of fluids such as air through this body, and at a certain speed, generates oscillation, with which energy could begin to be created.

 

Advantages of wind energy

Just as we once learned more about the advantages and disadvantages of solar energy, we should also talk about the characteristics of wind energy.

We are talking about clean and unlimited energy that is economic, with a low environmental impact and responsible for creating skilled and green jobs, in line with modern times.

However, there are also those who may take into account the existence of certain disadvantages in wind energy such as noise and its environmental impact.

Like all technology, wind power has its pros and cons. However, what we have here is a sustainable source of electricity where continuous technological progress is making it increasingly efficient.

To minimise the impact of its installation, experts always take into account the characteristics of the terrain, as well the prevailing flora and fauna.  For example, measures are taken to adapt to the aesthetics of the area and integration with the environment is increasingly achieved.

Noise has also once been mentioned as an annoying feature, but it is not very different from that generated by any industrial complex. Furthermore, wind farms are installed away from urban environments to avoid any nuisance.

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"We are talking about energy that is clean, unlimited, economical and with a low environmental impact."

As we can see, every problem can be solved with innovation and a desire to bring a change to our energy model, with a view to a much more sustainable future.

 

Taking advantage of wind energy in the future

Apart from wind energy's great advantages as a sustainable energy source, we should also add the positive economic and quality impact on employment that it is generating in Spain.

All this, as well as consumers enjoying 100% clean and more economical energy.

Because of all these advantages, Endesa continues to support wind energy, as well as other renewable energy sources as part of its commitment to decarbonisation. One of our priorities is to continue to take advantage of wind energy in the future.

Talking of the present, our customers can already benefit from wind energy and the rest of renewables by consuming only green energy with Endesa Única

The future looks very encouraging, and we want you to be part of this new way of understanding energy sustainability.

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