WIND POWER       Turbines off the coast of north Lincolnshire, England.                                             

Around the world wind power is emerging as a serious source of new clean energy.  
The most comprehensive study to date found the potential of wind power on land and near-shore to be approximately 72 terawatts. Currently humans use about 7 TW from all sources globally. A terawatt is 1 trillion watts, the power generated by more than 500 nuclear reactors or thousands of coal-burning plants. Wind energy alone could provide enough power ten times over to provide for all of our needs. This page explores its continuing expansion and application and how other nations see it as a crucial response to global warming. 

Global total cumulative installations at the end of 2014 stand at 369,597MW with, 51,473 MW being added in 2014
. During 2014, wind power avoided over 608 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. In Europe, one 6MW offshore wind turbine can power 5,500 homes, and currently in the EU wind power capacity covers 10.2% of electricity consumption powering over 73 million homes. Source 
(July 2014: wind energy is expected to grow from providing 3% of world's electricty today to 7.3% by 2018 -

Latest news:

May 20 2015: A wind turbine without blades. The turbine is just a hollow straw that sticks up 40 feet from the ground and vibrates like a guitar string when the wind thrums by. Instead of capturing energy via the circular motion of a propeller, the Vortex takes advantage of what’s known as vorticity, an aerodynamic effect that produces a pattern of spinning vortices. At the base of the cone are two rings of repelling magnets, which act as a sort of nonelectrical motor. When the cone oscillates one way, the repelling magnets pull it in the other direction, like a slight nudge to boost the mast’s movement regardless of wind speed. This kinetic energy is then converted into electricity via an alternator that multiplies the frequency of the mast’s oscillation to improve the energy-gathering efficiency. The result is a turbine that’s 50% less expensive than a bladed one, and nearly silent. And while each Vortex turbine is also 30% less efficient at capturing energy, wind farms can double the number of turbines that occupy a given area if they go bladeless. That’s a net energy gain of 40%. Plus, the turbine has no gears or moving parts; theoretically maintenance could be much easier than a traditional bells-and-whistles spinning one. link

May 19 2015: Wind power poised to spread to all statesAll 50 states could become wind energy producers, according to an Energy Department report once the next generation of larger, taller turbines in development hits the market. Energy officials and executives are now pushing toward machinery that would reach 360 to 460 feet high. That would increase the wind development potential in an additional 700,000 square miles, more than a fifth of the United States, bringing the total area to 1.8 million square miles.  link


  • Wind power globally
  • Wind power in the USA
  • Europe
  • New technologies / energy storage
  • Wind power at sea
  • Small-scale wind power & wind turbines effect on wildlife
Other links: American Wind Energy Association - AWEA
                  European Wind Energy Association - EWEA

                  World Wind Energy Association - WWEA
Wind power globally

March 2015: World wind industry grows by 44% in 2014. 2014 was a record-breaking year as wind energy grew 44% worldwide, says the Global Wind Energy Council. The industry added 51.5GW bringing the world cumulative total to 369.6GW. China, the world leader, set its own record by installing 23.4GW - almost half the world's new capacity, and more than any country has added in one year. China has 115GW of wind farms. Europe added 12.8GW, and Germany installed almost half of that with 5.3GW of new wind, growing 58% from 2013. Germany now has 38GW of onshore wind and 2.4GW of offshore wind. Renewable energy currently supplies 25.8% of the country's electricity. link

May 2013: 2012 record -breaking year for wind energy. In 2012 more wind turbines were erected than ever before worldwide, according to statistics released by the World Wind Energy Association (WWEA) in Germany. According to the organization's 2012 report, last year wind turbines with a total energy potential of 45GW were constructed internationally. That brings global wind power capacity to 282GW. Wind power now covers 3% of global electricity demand. One hundred countries worldwide employ wind power, mostly in Asia, North America and Western Europe.  link

February 2015: Wind intermittency is a myth says AWEA. The AWEA, (American Wind Energy Association) says wind contributes to the stability of the grid, and can be more reliable than conventional energy sources. Fluctuating supply and demand is fundamental to the grid - with or without wind power. This contradicts arguments that the The Achilles Heel for wind energy is intermittency. Fluctuations from any given power source are not what's important to grid operators, they care about the total supply and demand at any given moment. Variations in wind energy happen slowly and can be easily smoothed out - they are actually less problematic than fluctuations in conventional energy sources because they can be predicted in advance. And the more wind energy that's added to the grid, the less variable the resource as a whole becomes. link

February 2013. Wind power expanded by almost 20% in 2012 around the world to reach a new peak of 282GW of total installed capacity.  (Solar reached 100GW.)  More than 45GW of new wind turbines arrived in 2012, with China  and the US leading the way with 13GW each.  The UK now ranks sixth in the world for installed wind power, with 8.5GW. In Europe, only Germany (31GW) and Spain (23GW) have more. China leads the world with 77GW installed and the US is second with 60GW. link

Off-shore wind expanding

More than 90% of the world’s offshore wind power is currently installed off northern Europe, in the North, Baltic and Irish Seas, and the English Channel. Most of the rest is in two ‘demonstration’ projects off China’s east coast. China has set itself a target of 30 GW of installations off its coast by 2020. link  (Currently total is approximately 4.65GW off-shore)

October 2013: Wind power could generate 18% of global power by 2050. According to new IEA research, wind power could generate up to 18% of the world's electricity by 2050, compared with 2.6% today.  link

November 2012: Strong outlook for wind industry through 2030. The bi-annual Global Wind Energy Outlook sees slower growth over the next few years, but still expects wind to supply about 12% of global electricity by 2020 and 20% by 2030. By 2020 the industry is expected to create 1.4 million wind jobs employing 2.1 million people around the world. Over the past 15 years, the industry has seen average cumulative growth rates of about 28% - which brought wind capacity across 80 countries in 2011 to a total of 240 GW. 22 countries have more than 1 GW installed. link

November 2012: On-shore wind costs falling rapidly. Research firm finds the cost of operating and maintaining wind farms is falling by an average of 11% a year, based on confidential cost data from 38 large wind farm operators around the world.  link  

November 2011: Onshore wind to reach grid parity by 2016. Analysts say perception of wind power as 'expensive and intermittent' is out of date as equipment costs fall and output soars Electricity produced by onshore wind farms will cost the same as that from fossil fuel plants by 2016, as efficiency increases and equipment costs plummet. Research published last week by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) said that the best wind farms in the world already produce power as economically as coal, gas and nuclear generators, and predicts a 12% drop in price over the next five years.  link  

Wind power in India  

December 2012: India's wind capacity to expand rapidly by 2020. India's installed wind power capacity is expected to reach 89 GW by 2020 and 191 GW by 2030, according to a new report. This expansion in wind power is expected to attract $16.5 billion of annual investment, create 179,000 jobs and abate 179 tonnes of CO2 annually, the Wind Energy Outlook reported. link
India is currently the fifth largest generator of wind power in the world. The Indian wind energy sector has an installed capacity of 17,365.03 MW (as on March 31, 2012). In terms of wind power installed capacity, India is ranked 5th in the World.  (India Wind Energy Agency)

Wind power in Africa:
Extreme temperatures also generate extreme winds and perhaps this is the reason wind farms have great potential in Africa. Some 365 giant wind turbines will be installed in desert around Lake Turkana in northern Kenya to create the biggest wind farm in Africa. With completion expected in 2012, the project backed by the African Development Bank will have a capacity of 300MW, a quarter of Kenya’s current installed power and one of the highest proportions of wind energy to be fed in a national grid anywhere in the world. link

July 2013: AfDB expects African wind power capacity to increase ten-fold. According to a report by the  African Development Bank (AfDB) countries with significant wind power potential include Somalia, Sudan, Libya, Mauritania, Egypt, Madagascar, Kenya and Chad. There are 76 wind power projects examined in the report, which also breaks down the projects by technology manufacturers. Gamesa is at the top of the list with an installed capacity of 630MW for projects in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia and the manufacturer’s turbines are slated for use in 590MW of pipeline projects. Vestas’ turbines are used in projects in Egypt, Kenya, Morocco, South Africa, Cape Verde, and Algeria totaling about 163MW of installed capacity. link

Wind power in USA 

January. 2015: Installations of wind turbines in the U.S. more than quadrupled in 2014 as developers took advantage of an expiring federal tax credit, according to the AWEA. Developers completed 4,850MW of wind farms, up from 1,087MW that went into service in 2013. The U.S. now has more than 65GW of wind power capacity, second only to China’s 96GW. link 

March 2014: Wind now supplies 4% of US energy. Wind energy continues to improve its standing in the U.S. energy footprint, generating over 167,000 MWh in 2013 and accounting for more than 4% of electricity generation, according to the latest information from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) and American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Wind energy also has represented 30% of all new generating capacity over the last five years. link 

April 2013: US wind power grew 28% in 2012. Wind farms added 42% of all new capacity to the grid in 2012 ahead of any other source of electricity generation.  link   (72% of components for wind projects are now made in the USA, nearly triple that of 2007, according to the 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. 80,000 Americans are employed in the industry supply chain, and supply at the end of 2012 was 6% of US electricity generation.  link.)  

July 2014: Texas validates wind energy. This year a sprawling network of new high-voltage power lines was completed, tying the panhandle area and West Texas to the millions of customers around Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin and Houston. The new lines are meant to handle up to 18,000MW - millions of households. While there are still problems - the wind generally does not blow strongly on the hottest days, when its power generation is needed most, for example - scientists say that the supply will become somewhat more stable as more transmission lines, and more wind farms, are built in diverse locations. link

May 2014: US Wind Vision initiative. The US Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Vision initiative has a goal of wind providing 35% of electricity by 2050. The final roadmap will be released this fall to reach these goals: 10% wind by 2020; 20% by 2030; and 35% by 2050. To get there, the industry would add 10 gigawatts a year of onshore and offshore wind, plus repower older sites - as much in the next six years as the past 40. This level of growth would create 140,000 jobs by 2020 and 400,000 by 2050. link

August  2013: US wind energy installation up 90% in 2012.  link
May 2013: Iowa targets 40% wind energy

A wind turbine emits no CO2 or other pollutants, and over its 20-year life it will produce 80-120 times more en­ergy than it consumes. The European wind energy sector employed 160,000 people directly and indirectly in 2008. Europe’s wind energy avoided the emission of 108 million tonnes of C02 in 2008 – equal to 31% of the EU-15’s Kyoto obligations and the equivalent of taking more than 50 million cars off the roads.  
February 2014: What happens at the end of turbines’ life?
There is a global market  emerging for used turbines. While earlier attempts by U.S. companies to sell the models at home have waned, demand appears to be picking up in developing countries and island nations—places where wind power costs far less than electricity from imported fossil fuels. link

February 2010: U.S. wind potential more than 3 times greater than originally believed. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory’s most recent assessment shows that U.S. wind resources are larger than previously estimated, according to the American Wind Energy Association. A key finding of the new assessment shows that onshore U.S. wind resources could generate nearly 37,000,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually, more than nine times current total U.S. electricity consumption. The previous national government survey, conducted by the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, estimated U.S. wind potential at 10,777,000 GWh. America’s onshore wind resource is over 10,000 gigawatts (GW) and the U.S. is barely tapping into this resource with a current wind installed capacity of 35 GW. link

Off-shore wind in USA

March 2015: First US off-shore wind project to begin this summer. Deepwater Wind LLC received $290 million in financing that will allow it to begin building its Block Island offshore wind project in Rhode Island, the first one in the U.S. “We’ll have steel in the water this summer,” said CEO Jeff Grybowski. “It’s an enormous step for the project, and it’s an equally enormous step for the offshore wind industry in the U.S.” Other U.S. offshore wind projects have struggled to reach completion. The $2.6 billion Cape Wind project off Massachusetts has been under development for 13 years, stalled by legal battles with local fishermen and Native American tribes. link

March 2015: European-tested ocean-based wind turbines coming to USA.  There are currently 12 offshore wind projects in various stages of development spanning 10 states off the East, West, Great Lakes and Texas coasts, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Turbine sizes vary from 3 to 6 MW, along with a transmission project that could carry up to 7,000 MW. The Northeast coast is particularly well-suited as an incubator of offshore wind, owing to its close access to major cities like Boston and New York. From Maine down to North Carolina, there exist over a thousand miles of coastline with a wide continental shelf on one side and major population centers on the other within a proximity of 15 miles or more. link

February 2014: Go-ahead for first US off-shore wind farm. A Seattle wind company has gotten the go-ahead to develop plans for a 30MW offshore wind pilot project off of Oregon’s Coos Bay, officials announced this week. The project would employ five floating wind turbines about 15 miles off the coast of Oregon. link

September 2012: Off-shore turbines could power eastern states. Placing wind turbines off the East Coast could meet the entire demand for electricity from Florida to Maine, according to engineering experts at Stanford University. However the team is not advocating for an "all wind" approach, but they do think it could reach up to 50%. link

February 2011: US Atlantic coast targeted for 10GW of wind power. Four designated "wind energy areas" off the mid-Atlantic coast will benefit from fast-tracked environmental assessments designed to accelerate leasing and approval processes for proposed wind farms. The strategy sets a target to deploy 10GW of offshore wind capacity by 2020. Capacity would then increase to 54GW by 2030, forming a vital part of president Obama's wider goal to supply 80% of US electricity from clean energy sources by 2035.  link (According to the United States Energy Information Administration, of the 48 contiguous states, 28 that have coastal boundaries consume 78% of the nation’s electricity.

October 2010: Plans announced for a 6,000MW wind power transmission line link  

Wind power in Europe

(January 2014): Off-shore wind in Europe. The total offshore wind capacity in Europe is now 6,562MW with just over 2,000 turbines, enough to provide 0.7% of the EU’s electricity. The European Offshore Wind Industry estimates that by 2020 Europe’s offshore grid should have a capacity of 40 gigawatts and by 2030 it should have 150 gigawatts, enough to provide 14% of the EU’s electricity demand. Britain has the most installed capacity with 3.68 gigawtts while Denmark is a distant second with 1.27 gigawatts. link

February 2013: Europe exceeds 100GW of wind capacity. Cumulative European Union wind power capacity at end of 2012 was 105.6GW up from 94GW at the end of 2011. link    

March 2013: Plans for world's biggest off-shore wind farm in UK. The Walney wind farm, off Barrow, already has 102 turbines and generates enough power for about 320,000 homes. Danish-based developer Dong Energy wants to add up to 120 additional turbines and provide power for about 500,000 more homes. If approved, the project could be completed by 2017.  link

September 2012: Beginnings of a European wind supergrid launched. The first  
interconnector between the Republic and Britain was opened yesterday, connecting the power grids of the two countries. The 500-megawatt cable can carry enough power to supply around 350,000 homes. The east-west interconnector goes from Co Meath to north Wales, and is designed to help ensure adequate and efficient power supply for the future. link

February 2011. 11% increase in EU wind capacity in 2011. The EU added 9,616MW of wind energy capacity during 2011, making up more than a fifth of total new power installations. Overall, Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed capacity, followed by Spain, France, Italy and the UK. The level of capacity added is slightly down on the 9,648MW that came online in 2010, due in part to falling numbers of installations in mature markets such as France and Spain. link
(November 2012:
Last month, wind capacity in Europe crossed the 100 gigawatt  threshold. Wind energy supplies about 7% of the EU's electricity, and that will rise dramatically as the massive offshore wind farms planned get built and connected to the grid. link  January 2013: At the close of 2012, almost 6GW of wind power in France covered a record 10% of the country’s electricity demand. link  

June 2010: EU plans for 50% electricity from wind energy by 2050. The European Union has launched a 6 billion euro ($7.2 billion) research and development program that will help pave the way for the region to source half of its electricity supply from wind energy by 2050. The plan aims to bring energy to power 20% of the bloc’s electricity by 2020, 33% by 2030 and 50% by 2050. link  [Europe also aims to slash emissions by 20% over the next 10 years.]  

December 2010: A North Sea off-shore electric grid serving Europe agreed. The grid will link the ten member countries across Europe making it easier for member states to trade energy. The off-shore wind farms in the North Sea are expected to exploit 140GW of energy. link 

January 2010: More than 100GW of offshore wind projects are under development in Europe, around 10% of the EU's electricity demand, and equivalent to about 100 large coal-fired plants. Sun, wind and wave-powered: Europe unites to build renewable energy 'supergrid'. By autumn, nine EU governments (Germany, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, Denmark, Sweden and Ireland and the UK) hope to have a plan to begin building a high-voltage direct current network, a super-grid of renewable energy sources, within the next decade. It will be an important step in achieving the pledge that, by 2020, 20% of its energy will come from renewable sources. link

The European Wind Energy Agency (EWEA) set a new 230GW target for 2020, an example of the industry’s confidence and the growing recognition of what wind power can offer European citizens. Britain has an ambitious goal of 33 gigawatts of wind power by 2020. [The 2010 target set by the European Commission was 40 GW.]    More on U.K. wind.

New technologies and energy storage

Technology has impacted all stages and aspects of the wind development business. Over the past 10 to 15 years, enhancements in technology and computing power have revolutionized the wind development business. From prospecting the best sites to constructing wind farms, from mapping cadastral data to estimating the wind resource at specific proposed turbine locations, technology has improved our ability to efficiently select, develop, and ultimately construct utility-scale wind farms.  link

Wind turbines and hurricane winds. Wind turbines have a hurricane mode, designed to let them ride out major wind storms without damage. Basically, the blades get pitched to neutral so that wind forces them to not rotate, then they are locked down facing into the wind. It’s engineering, just as turbines are slimmed down for areas with lower breezes so that they could generate better there. link

December 2014: Innovative wind turbines 1,000 times more efficient. A team at the University of Wollongiong is in the final stages of developing offshore wind turbines that are 1,000 times more efficient at one-third the cost of traditional turbines. Using superconductors to replace gearboxes, this converts wind energy into electricity without any loss of power, and cuts the cost of turbines from today’s $15m to $3-5m each. link

There are well over 30 different significant manufacturers currently delivering wind turbines rated at more than 1 MW and more than 130 different models of varying capacities.
Read here to learn of the factors taken into account for on-shore or off-shore turbines.

8MW turbine announced by Danish company. Danish wind turbine specialist Vestas was already looking to claim the title of the world’s largest offshore wind turbine with its proposed V164 that ups the capacity from seven to eight megawatts. So not only is the V164 set to boast the largest swept area of any single wind turbine, it will also claim the title for the world’s largest capacity wind turbine. The current titleholder for the largest swept area goes to the G10X prototype installed by Gamesa in Spain, with a rotor diameter of 128 m (420 ft) and a capacity of 4.5 MW. Meanwhile, with a rated capacity of 7.58 MW and rotor diameter of 126 m (413 ft), the Enercon E-126 has held the title for the world’s largest capacity wind turbine since its introduction in 2007.   link  (Update - January 2014: 8MW turbine starts generating power  link

December 2010: Just how big can a wind turbine get? With lots of manufacturers developing 7 to 10MW turbines (the ones prevalent today average about 1.5 - 2MW),  a Spanish consortium plans to dominate the market with a 15MW turbine which could be ready for market by 2020. link

November 2013: New technology - wind towers instead of turbines. A company called SheerWind, Inc. is developing a wind technology that purportedly can generate 25MW without having to build a mega-size turbine. One of its INVELOX towers produces four times the energy of the biggest offshore turbine and six times that of the largest onshore turbine. If the technology gets off the ground, one tower would supply 25,000 US homes at a fraction of the size and cost of traditional wind turbines, according to SheerWind. It works in a somewhat analogous way to concentrating solar. It captures, accelerates and concentrates wind in a tower, increasing the velocity of wind. The technology has been reviewed and validated by experts at major research universities and prototypes have been tested under controlled laboratory conditions. link

January 2013: Apple re-inventing the wind turbine. Apple patent suggests using wind turbines that converts rotational energy from turbine blades into heat, which is then stored and used to generate electricity when necessary. Today’s turbines often turn kinetic energy from turbine blade rotation directly into mechanical energy or electricity - more

Floating turbines:

June 2014: The global race for floating wind farms. Floating wind farms in the North Sea alone could meet the EU's electricity consupmtion four times over. link

October 2010: Floating wind turbines may be more efficient. Floating wind turbines are a little more complicated and require higher initial costs. But a new study by the Energy Technologies Institute (ETI) in the UK has found that due to their greater ability to access stronger and more consistent winds deeper out at sea, they are more economically efficient in the long term. link  (November 2013)  Norwegian oil company to build largest floating wind farm off coast of Scotland - link

Portugal: December 2011 The offshore wind industry passed a milestone recently with the installation of the world's first floating offshore wind turbine off the coast of Portugal. The WindFloat project consists of a 2MW semi-submersible wind turbine that can be deployed without heavy machinery. The turbine was assembled onshore in a controlled environment before it was transported to the sea and towed more than 217 miles to open water. The structure will undergo trial operations, commissioning and startup procedures over the next few weeks. These procedures will include a full production capacity test. The WindFloat technology decreases wave and wind-induced motions, which allows a large turbine to be placed in waters with depths of more than 164 feet, where it is able to capture stronger winds. The platform allows for the use of any off-the-shelf turbine. link

February 2011: An alternative to large turbines.  Vertical axis wind turbine (VAWT), is classified as a " the spinning mechanism that sits at ground level, rather than atop a tower, with two arms reaching up and out in a V-shape that spans 900 feet across. The vertical orientation means its weight does not alter its efficiency as it rotates, which does occur in horizontal axis turbines, and it can take advantage of wind coming from any direction. The new turbine design causing a lot of excitement, promising 10 megawatts per machine and potentially more as the design scales up--around three times the current yield of wind-power generators. A prototype is slated for completion by 2013. link

December 2012: British study finds wind turbines wear sooner than expected. The analysis of almost 3,000 onshore wind turbines, the biggest study of its kind, warns that they will continue to generate electricity effectively for just 12 to 15 years. The wind energy industry and the Government base all their calculations on turbines enjoying a lifespan of 20 to 25 years. The study estimates that routine wear and tear will more than double the cost of electricity being produced by wind farms in the next decade. Older turbines will need to be replaced more quickly than the industry estimates while many more will need to be built onshore if the Government is to meet renewable energy targets by 2020. link

August 2013: Turbines do not affect house prices study. One of the main arguments used by those who oppose the turbines is that they decrease property and home values. But a new study effectively puts that argument to rest. The study looked at more than 50,000 home and property sales near 67 wind facilities in nine U.S. states and found no average decrease in home properties when windmills were built nearby. link

July 2011: Direct drive may replace less efficienty gearboxes. A different drive train design that eliminates the gearbox between a turbine’s rotor and generator is attracting wind turbine manufacturers in the quest for higher power output, increased offshore reliability, and potential cost savings over the system’s lifetime. link

                          Energy storage: Important new industry
- link

July 2010: Storing wind energy proceeds for release at peak times. The rapid growth of wind farms, whose output is hard to schedule reliably or even predict, has the nation's electricity providers scrambling to develop energy storage to ensure stability and improve profits. Storing in batteries allows wind energy to be bought at a low price, such as in the middle of the night, and resold hours later at a higher price. link  

April 2011: Largest wind storage system announced for Texas. Duke Energy Corporation and Xtreme Power will build the world’s largest power-storage system as back-up for a wind farm in Texas. The 36MW energy storage system will be a back-up for Duke Energy’s 153MW wind installation in Notrees. The system will store power that’s generated when demand is low, but that can be tapped when electricity consumption is highest, or when winds are not blowing. link

April 2010: Giant gravel batteries could make renewable energy more reliable. Wind and solar power are often criticised for being too intermittent, but Cambridge researchers could change that. link  
December 2013: New storage technologies. Three new technologies are now emerging as potential long term solutions as alternatives to battery storage technologies, which many consider either simply be too expensive, or not have enough capacity to solve some of the long term issues. link 

June 2010: Large kites could harvest the fast crosswinds at high altitude. Airborne wind turbines will take off and fly to around 2000 feet, where they will float, generating power that can be transferred to the ground via a tether. "Global wind is a tremendous source of energy carrying nearly 870 terrawatts in global tropospheric winds," says JoeBen Bevirt who is developing the wind turbine technology. "In comparison, the global demand is 17 terawatts. Harnessing a tiny fraction will transform the way we power our civilization." link

Kite Wind Generator, or KitGen. Kites are seen as the perfect and cheapest way to capture the enormous energy in the wind at a kilometre or more above the ground, where winds carry hundreds of times more energy than on the ground. An experiment, carried out last year in Italy, generated enough electricity to power 10 family homes, and the researchers have plans to test a 50kW version of their invention, called Laddermill, eventually building up to a proposed version with multiple kites that they claim could generate 100 megawatts, enough for 100,000 homes.  link

Wind power use at sea

Sail-powered cargo ship test results in: It cut fuel by 20 percent
Early 2008, the MV Beluga SkySails, a cargo ship rigged up with a billowing 160-meter sail from Sky Sails, used approximately 20 percent less fuel than it would have without the sail during a two-month voyage. Put another way, that's 2.5 tons of fuel, or $1,000 a day, in operating costs. Beluga Shipping ultimately hopes to save $2,000 a day with the technology. The ship left Bremen, Germany, on the 22nd of January, sailed to Venezuela, and then headed toward the Norwegian port of Mo-I-Rana, docking on March 13. In all, the ship sailed 11,952 nautical miles. The sail was up, depending on the winds, from between 5 minutes and 8 hours a day.  link   [Ships engaged in international trade account for 2.7% of the world's carbon dioxide emissions from human activities - this contributes about a billion tonnes of CO2. That's more than the entire economies of Germany or the UK..]

Small sacle wind energy  /  Effects on wildlife

July 2012: Thailand - where turbines power a country that isn't windy. 70% of the area in the world has a low wind speed. Dr. Roy is a Lecturer in Mechanical Engineering in Bangkok and owner of a company that specializes in low wind-speed turbines. He is excited about the prospects for wind energy in Thailand, but insists that it must be done correctly.
A few years ago, during the fuel crisis in Thailand, wind energy suddenly became popular.  Regular large windmills from abroad look like a monument but they don’t rotate until a storm comes. Low speed, decentralized wind turbines can be put anywhere and are small, light structures, like ants feeding the grid. link

March 2011: Small wind energy systems are experiencing significant growth as the technology finally appears to be coming of age. These systems are now more reliable, quieter and safer than those introduced in past decades. Typically generating just enough power to meet the demands of a home, farm or small business, small wind energy systems belong to a renewables genre that continues to grow. Currently, some 250 companies in 26 countries manufacture, or plan to manufacture, small wind turbines, according to latest figures released by the American Wind Energy Association. The world's leading 15 manufacturers continue to predict exponential sales growth in the US market over the next five years, with projections of over 1000 MW of cumulative installed small wind capacity in America by 2015. link

A new design wind-powered turbine overcomes height restrictions and noise problems and is said to be friendly to birds and bats. The Helix Wind Savonious 2.0 is a "2kW rated turbine that can be tower-mounted between 14 and 35 feet or roof mounted just 2 feet above roof line. The rotor measures 6ft by 4ft and utilizes long helical blade scoops to maximize energy performance in turbulent, gusty or multi-directional wind conditions". link 

VAWT's or Vertical Axis Wind Turbines. VAWT's are an economical alternative for residential and small commercial applications where wind power can now be harnessed at lower wind speeds and without expensive towers. Due to the unique design of their vertically installed blades, VAWT's are less affected by turbulent air than standard horizontal axis wind turbines or HAWT's. This makes VAWT's better suited for residential areas where obstacles such as other houses, buildings and trees generally disturb the airflow. link

Bringing wind turbines to ordinary rooftops. Rooftop turbines send the electricity they generate straight on to the home’s circuit box. Then owners in a suitably wind-swept location can watch the needle on their electricity meter turn backward instead of forward, reducing their utility bills while using a renewable resource. link

Wind turbine effects on birds and bats.

September 2013: Latest study on wind farms – bird deaths. As a new study that finds wind-energy farms directly caused the deaths of hundreds of eagles since the late 1990s, fatalities of golden eagles at modern wind facilities represent only 2% of all documented sources of human-caused eagle fatalities. Other studies have found that wind farms are responsible for a variety of bird deaths, but ultimately concluded that their avian death toll is negligible when compared to that of other power plants. One study identified 20,000 avian deaths from wind farms in 2009 but found that in that same year, 330,000 birds were killed by nuclear power plants, and more than 14 million were killed by fossil-fueled power plants. link   British Trust for Ornithology finds 99% of birds avoid wind turbines - link

Windfarms do not cause long-term damage to bird populations. A new study, the largest carried out in the UK into the impact of onshore windfarms on bird life, quashed fears that onshore windfarms are causing long-term damage to bird populations, but found new evidence that some species are harmed when windfarms are built. The study concluded that a large majority of species can co-exist or thrive with windfarms once they are operating. link 

British bird society calls for more wind farms. Ruth Davis, head of climate change policy at the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) said it was in favour of such an expansion because of the "truly terrifying" impact that global warming was increasingly having on birds. "Left unchecked, climate change threatens many species with extinction," she said. link

Fossil fuel plants pose a much higher threat to birds than wind turbines.        
Fossil-fueled facilities are 17 times more dangerous to birds on a per GWh basis than wind power. Wind turbines may have killed 17,000 birds, but fossil-fueled stations killed 14.5 million and nuclear 327,000. link  

March 2011: Wind turbines effects on bats. While more than a million bats have died due to a fungal disease called White-Nose Syndrome since 2006, at the same time, several migratory tree-dwelling species are being killed in unprecedented numbers by wind turbines. It is unknown how many bats have died due to wind turbines, but scientists estimate by 2020, wind turbines will have killed 33,000 to 111,000 annually in the Mid-Atlantic Highlands alone. This hurts the economy because bats' diet of pest insects reduces the damage the insects cause to crops and decreases the need for pesticides. Why migratory tree-dwelling species are drawn to the turbines remains a mystery. link 
Wind turbines and bats. Radar beams that irritate bats could be used to prevent the animals from being diced by the spinning blades of wind turbines, according to a study of how the animals react to radar signals. link    

(August 2013) Nano tags used to site offshore wind turbines away from bird populations. New technology makes it possible to hone in on an individual's flight patterns. link

Wind farms currently kill far fewer birds than the estimated 100 million than fly into glass buildings, or up to 500 million killed yearly by cats. Power lines kill an estimated 10 million, and nearly 11 million are hit by automobiles, according to studies. link

Why are windmills always white, and why do they have three blades?
Some answers
Purple shown to be best color for wildlife in studies - link

Mitigating wildlife dangers - link

For more information about wind power, follow these links:

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