“Electricity can be generated in many ways. In each case, a fuel is used to turn a turbine, which drives a generator, which feeds the grid. The turbines are designed to suit the particular fuel characteristics. Wind generated electricity is no different: The wind is the fuel, which drives the turbine, which generates electricity. But unlike fossil fuels it is free and clean.” (source: Wind Energy The Facts)
The principle of a wind turbine is based on the conversion of the kinetic energy of the wind into a mechanical energy in the turbine. The wind turns the rotor blades which are connected to the main shaft, spinning a generator to produce electricity. This unit of rotor blade and generator is mounted on a tower to take advantage of higher wind speeds and less turbulent wind. The electricity produced is either been fed into the electricity grid or used to power a home or building.
Wind energy offers several benefits making it attractive compared to conventional energy sources:
Avoidance of air pollutants
Air pollution is the major drawback of conventional fossil energy sources. Each kilowatt hour (kWh) of electricity produced by renewable energy sources saves around 1 kg of carbon dioxide. This means that, replacing 5% of the Cyprus fossil burning electrical generating capacity (about 3000 GWh per year) by wind energy would avoid around 150,000 tons of carbon dioxide CO2 emission per annum. The same applies for other pollutants (see table).
Wind is a clean source of energy which is free from ionising radiation, radioactive waste and does not impose external (lateral) costs such as costs of air pollution, damage to public health, etc.
Abundance as a resource
The world-wide resources of conventional energy sources (like gas, oil and coal) are limited. At the moment 60 – 70 % of the world wide electricity production is obtained by burning fossil fuels. While these resources will decrease within the next decades, alternatives are necessary. The renewable energy sources like sun, wind and water are of unlimited nature. The wind power potential of most of the countries is larger than their resources of hydro-power or fossil fuel reserves.
For centuries windmills have been used for grinding and for water pumping and were being well accepted as part of the landscape. Wind farms can be integrated/connected in electricity distribution networks. All essential problems can be solved through advanced technology which is been recently developed.
Energy payback time
The energy produced by a wind turbine throughout its 20 year lifetime is much larger than the amount of energy used to build, maintain, operate, dismantle and scrapping /erasing from the face of the earth. That means, that on average, it takes only two or three months for a wind turbine to recover all the energy required to build and operate it. Since most turbines will run considerably longer than 20 years, this relation is even further improved. Wind turbines can be removed easily and without leaving sustained damage after their operational period.
Wind energy creates jobs, in general 4 jobs per MWmanufactured and 1 job per MWinstalled for maintenance can be expected. Placing order with local companies (e.g. construction of tower or rotors, electrical grid connection, maintenance in operation, etc.) new jobs will be created “on site”.
Benefits for local communities and tourism
A wind farm is an attraction for visitors and tourists alike, boosting local trade and attractiveness of the whole region. The local communities in Cyprus are also benefitting via a 2% share of the wind farm’s income from the sale of electricity