Wind Energy – Financially and Environmentally Superior Alternative

As conventional energy sources such as oil and gas continue to rise in both cost and environmental impact, alternative energy sources have become more sustainable and economically and environmentally friendly.

Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing renewable energy technologies, with increasing global use. Over the past two decades, the global installed capacity for wind power generation onshore and offshore has jumped from 7.5 gigawatts in 1997 to around 564 gigawatts by 2018.

How Wind Turns into Energy:

Wind energy is harnessed using wind turbines, devices that convert the kinetic energy of the wind into electricity. These turbines, also known as windmills, capture the wind’s energy with their blades, causing them to rotate. The rotation drives a generator, converting the kinetic energy into electrical energy. Once generated, electricity can be used immediately, fed into the electrical grid, or stored for future use.

The amount of electricity produced by a wind turbine depends on the wind speed and blade design. Small individual turbines can produce around 100 kilowatts, sufficient to power a single household. Larger turbines, mounted on towers reaching up to 80 meters, can generate 1.8 megawatts of power. Even larger turbines on towers as high as 240 meters with blades spanning over 162 meters can produce from 4.8 to 9.5 megawatts of energy.

Characteristics and Benefits of Wind Turbines:

  1. Clean and Renewable Source: Wind energy is abundant and does not deplete, providing electricity without burning fuel or polluting the air. It helps reduce reliance on fossil fuels, avoiding 329 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually, which contribute to acid rain, smog, and greenhouse gases.
  2. Space-Efficient: Despite being installed on the ground, wind turbines occupy relatively small areas. The vertical orientation of the blades allows for a small base, especially when compared to solar power stations.
  3. Cost-Effective and Environmentally Friendly: Wind energy has lower installation and operational costs compared to other energy sources. The short construction period, ranging from two to twenty-four months depending on the plant’s size, is facilitated by scientific and national interest in alternative energies, accelerating their development and lowering installation costs.
  4. Simple and Rare Maintenance: Wind turbine stations require minimal maintenance and can operate for years without the need for significant interventions. With minor adjustments, they can function for periods exceeding twenty years.
  5. Recyclable: Wind turbine stations are recyclable at the end of their operational life. The land used for the turbines can be restored, and the plant itself can be dismantled into its core components.
  6. Adaptability to Different Environments: Wind energy generation aligns well with agricultural areas, easily integrating into rural or remote regions.

As renewable energy technology advances and gains popularity, wind farms have become increasingly common on hills, fields, and even in the sea. The growth of wind energy aligns with the importance of replacing traditional energy sources with sustainable alternatives.

In Turkey, for instance, it is one of the top 10 wind energy markets globally. In 2021, it set a record in wind power electricity production, adding 1750 megawatts to the installed capacity. Turkey has around 80 companies manufacturing wind energy equipment, exporting 70% of its products to 44 countries on six continents, ranking fifth in Europe in this sector.

In the context of combating climate change, Turkey is strengthening its capabilities in producing alternative energy equipment, particularly wind energy components like turbines, blades, engines, and tower bases.