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With the decrease in the amount of minerals, people turned to other types of energy sources. Today wind power is developing by leaps and bounds.
More and more people come across such sources and use them in everyday life. Although wind energy itself is a new technology, many myths have already accumulated around it. Most of them belong to old technologies, and they are distributed by numerous opponents of progress. Let us discuss below the main misconceptions associated with this direction of energy.
Wind turbines are very noisy. According to this myth, a person cannot stay near noisy wind turbines for a long time. However, they are pretty quiet. At a distance of 250-300 meters from the wind farm, the noise from its operation does not exceed the loudness of the operation of an ordinary home refrigerator. When turbines are running, the sound is similar to a slight whistle, it is much quieter compared to other modern installations. Even in sparsely populated and rural areas, where ambient noise cannot hide the operation of wind turbines, the sound of the wind itself is stronger. However, it is worth remembering the exception. So, old units, which are more than 20 years old, are noisy. And modern turbines located on heights cannot be called "quiet". As a result, in hilly areas, where dwellings are located on slopes or depressions in the direction of the wind from the turbines, the sound can travel further and be more noticeable. However, to solve this effect, it is only necessary to take into account the location of nearby houses when designing a new power plant, stepping back from them at an appropriate distance. The same machines that are produced today were originally designed so that the mechanical components were as quiet as possible. Designers try to keep only the smallest noise from the wind in contact with the rotor blades.
The houses closest to the station will be in the "shadow flicker" zone. Shadow flicker refers to the process that occurs when the blades of turbine blades rotate between the sun and the observer. This creates a moving shadow. However, flickering shade is never a problem for homes near a power plant. And where it is in principle possible, problems are usually easily solved even at the design stage of a power plant. Sometimes the flickering shadow can irritate those reading nearby or watching TV. But this effect can be easily calculated by determining exactly how many hours per year this will occur. This will help you easily identify the problem. The state, on the other hand, offers a number of solutions to mitigate the consequences of the effect. The simplest thing is to plan the location of the station and move it away from the houses, another way would be to plant trees.
Turbines interfere with television signals and other communications. Turbines can rarely interfere and can even be avoided. Large wind turbines on the ground can only interfere with television or radio if they are within line of sight. In modern wind energy, various methods are used to solve this problem. You can improve the receiver antenna or install a repeater that will transmit a signal bypassing the area where the wind turbines are located.
The turbines are pretty ugly. Beauty is a rather subjective concept. For many, the appearance of the turbines is majestic. Wind farm planners have computer modeling tools that can visually show its virtual view from different angles. As a result, careful design of the station usually solves problems of ugly appearance.
Wind farms are of little use to the locals; their property only diminishes in value. There is no evidence that property prices go down when there is a commercial wind farm nearby. In 2003, a national study was conducted in America that specifically looked at the prices of properties located near a wind farm. It turned out that the presence of such an object not only does not in any way affect the cost of houses, but in some cases even increases it.
Wind farms harm tourism. No such documented evidence was found either. Sometimes wind turbines even attract guests to this area. The local authorities will then work with station staff to set up bulletin boards and special signs. Tourists already at the entrance or nearby roads can understand exactly where such an unusual station is located. Studies have shown that for most tourists, the presence of wind turbines in the area is not a reason to cancel a trip. For example, in Palm Springs, California, thousands of turbines are installed. They not only did not scare away tourists, but even attracted them. Here the guides offer special bus tours to visit the wind farms.
Wind turbines are dangerous, because ice can break off the blades, which is dangerous for human life. Sometimes ice may actually fall, but this does not pose any danger. The removal of wind farms from places of permanent residence, which is usually there to reduce sound effects, is enough to ensure safety due to falling ice. And big ice freezing on the blades is simply impossible. After all, it leads to a decrease in the speed of rotation of the blades. As a result, the turbine will be disabled by its control system.
Sometimes the blades are thrown off the turbines, and the wind farms are destroyed. Wind turbines are very safe today. This allows them to be placed even near children's institutions, in rural, urban and densely populated areas. Previously, there really was a breakdown of the blades, but today the turbine design has already been technically improved. All wind motors are certified in accordance with international standards. For example, the criteria developed by Germanischer Lloyd and Det Norske Veritas include standards of varying degrees of hurricane resistance. Today, thousands of wind turbines have already been installed across Europe and America. They all comply with the highest safety standards to ensure reliable operation.
Wind turbines are dangerous to nature and kill many birds and bats. The impact of growing wind energy and its spread to birds is greatly exaggerated. It is significantly less than other normal human activities. Even any potential wind energy development will not have any impact on birds. After all, the number of deaths from installations of this type is only a small part of the total volume of the "human factor". Birds die from high-rise buildings, domestic cats, aircraft, construction, environmental accidents. At the same time, the problem of bird death due to wind farms is under special attention. For example, at one of the oldest sites of this type in Altamont Pass, California, the death of birds of prey has been a longstanding problem since the 1980s. The staff of this station constantly work with authorities and conservation experts to minimize the hazardous impact on birds. Since 2003, research has begun on the effects of wind turbines on bats. After all, the death of these mammals in West Virginia in the same year attracted the attention of scientists and the public. In response, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, together with the bat conservation community, is still conducting research on the relationship between plant operation and the death of these animals. Such studies are designed to reduce mortality, the results of the work are constantly published. Although the impact of wind power on bird and mouse populations is small, industrialists are serious about potential interactions with living things. In addition to general field studies, additional studies on impacts on birds are carried out prior to construction. It has already become a generally accepted practice to investigate the possible impact on nature at the stage of plant design.
Wind farms are divided into parts of the habitat of wild animals. Usually such stations are built near power lines. Here, the habitats of animals have already been fragmented and changed, the reason for this is the developed cattle breeding and agriculture. The station itself requires a little land to house the turbine itself, the road to it and the power lines. The earth around such objects can continue to use it as usual. Plots with suitable wind characteristics are often found on undeveloped land. Habitat fragmentation can then indeed be a source of concern. After all, meadows and forests are still intact. The industry is strongly supporting the exploration of these sites in order to better understand the possible impact on them. It is necessary to compare the possible impact with that which may occur in the absence of renewable energy sources. After all, this is fraught with global warming, the release of pollutants.
Wind turbines are unreliable and expensive and cannot be the only source of energy. The design of the network is such that it does not require for every megawatt produced by the wind farm to generate the same amount of energy from other sources. No station can be 100% reliable, this made the network such that it has more sources than is required at the same time. Such a complex system was specially designed to better respond to possible shutdowns of one of the sources or the inclusion of industrial consumers with high consumption. In this way, there are quite a few variables in the power grid that are taken into account by the operator. The inconsistency of wind turbines is just one factor in the operation of the entire network. Are there generally highly reliable sources of electricity? So, even nuclear reactors and coal-fired power plants are shut down with a warning shortly before that, in order to carry out maintenance or emergency repairs. But nobody seeks to duplicate nuclear or thermal power plants with the same powerful facilities. The reality is that wind power is naturally reliable. After all, stations are being built in windy areas, where seasonal air movement models can be predicted. Unlike standard plants, wind farms do not need to be completely shut down in case of breakdown or maintenance. If the turbine is faulty, it can be repaired without disconnecting other units from the network.
Wind turbines only run a fraction of the time. It turns out that such installations produce electricity most of the day, 65-80%. Naturally, the output power changes from time to time. But 100% of its capacity cannot be constantly provided by any power plant. All of them are sometimes closed for repairs and maintenance or generate less capacity due to the lack of current demand for electricity. Wind farms are being built where the wind blows most of the year. But fluctuations in its wind lead to the fact that only 10% of the time will be carried out to produce maximum power. As a result, the average annual electricity production will be about 30% of the nominal capacity. For stations on non-renewable sources, this parameter ranges from 0.4 to 0.8. All in all, for Russia in 2005, the total utilization factor of the capacities of all stations was 0.5.
Wind turbines are ineffective. Quite the opposite, the advantage of wind turbines is their efficiency. The simplest way to determine the overall performance of a technology is through overall performance. The amount of energy consumed for production is estimated. It turned out that the recovery times for wind farms are practically on par with those of conventional facilities, sometimes even surpassing them. Recently, the University of Wisconsin conducted a study and found that the average energy recovery from Midwestern wind farms is 17-39 times (depending on current wind speed) more energy consumed. But for nuclear power plants this parameter is 16, for coal - 11. And in a broader sense, it should be said about the efficiency of wind turbines. After all, they generate electricity from natural sources that are inexhaustible. However, there are no social or environmental impacts. Fuel does not need to be mined, transported, there is no environmental pollution. There is no problem of waste, which also needs to be transported and stored somewhere. Wind farms do not exacerbate the greenhouse effect, which is typical for CHP.
Wind energy is expensive. Wind power today provides electricity at the same cost as new plants using conventional fuels. The capital costs of wind turbines are indeed higher than conventional energy sources such as gas. But at the same time, there are no costs for fuel, and other normalized costs (cost of work, maintenance) of such a direction of energy are ultimately competitive with respect to other sources. Analysts concluded that wind power is driving down the overall market value of electricity. Indeed, over the past 30 years in Europe, the capacity of turbines of this type has grown almost 300 times, during which time the cost of production has decreased by 80%. Every new 5% of the market given to wind energy can reduce the cost of electricity by 1%. Over the past 5 years, wind energy in the EU has provided 33 jobs every day. This market is constantly growing, only in Russia in 2013 it will amount to 3.1 billion euros, and in 2015 - 7 billion euros.
Wind energy requires subsidies, unlike conventional ones. Analysts at the International Energy Agency have assessed energy subsidies in Europe. It turned out that in 15 EEC countries a total of 29 billion euros were allocated, of which only 19% fell on wind energy. This indicator suggests that this direction was simply equated in rights with traditional energy production technologies.
Wind turbines are unsuitable for the general network, working only in small autonomous systems. In order for the entire power system to begin to depend on the unstable output of power from wind power plants, their share must be about 20-25% of the total capacity. For example, in Russia with the existing indicators and rates, such a ratio can be achieved no earlier than in 50 years.
The share of wind energy in the global energy balance is insignificant. In 2010, the amount of energy produced by plants of this type was 2.5% of the total. Wind energy is highly valued, for example, in Denmark already 20% of electricity is generated in this way, and in Germany - 8%. Development plans for this direction were announced by China, India, Japan, France. The pace of development of wind energy suggests that by 2020 the share of this industry will be 10% of the total.
Wind power itself is unstable and not as predictable as other types. Energy is supplied unstably, which requires its constant reservation and storage. There are options for solving the problems of such instability. Today, with an accuracy of 95%, forecasts of hourly energy output during the day are made. This high planning rate improves plant performance and reliability. To assess the stability of this type of station system, a group of scientists from the Universities of Delaware and Stony Brook created a virtual system of objects. They were located along the entire east coast of the United States, far from the coast. It turned out that such a system can serve as a reliable source of energy. Although wind farms have a high potential, changing weather can still reduce their potential. Scientists propose to unite into a single network groups of wind generators that are distant from each other in order to smooth out wind fluctuations in the areas. However, accurate calculations have not yet been made. In the course of the study, data obtained from 11 automatic weather observing stations over 5 years were considered. They were located 2,500 kilometers between Florida and Maine. It turned out that during this time, provided that the stations were combined into a single network, the flow of electricity would never completely stop. The power of the entire system would not fluctuate as much as that of a single unit. If it could change by 50% in an hour, then for the entire network the jump, in principle, could not exceed 10% per hour. The participants in the study concluded that this "unstable" energy source is actually quite reliable when handled correctly.