During this century people throughout the world have been using energy at an unprecedented level, this in turn has led to issues such as price hikes, as experienced by Californian residents last year; rising asthma rates; global warming; and acid rain.
By unevenly heating the earth's surface the sun causes the winds to blow. For literally hundreds of years we have harvested this energy to travel greater distances and perform diverse tasks ranging from milling, sawing and pumping water.
We now have the opportunity to harvest this energy and by using modern wind turbines we can turn it into electricity to light and heat our homes.
The UK itself is one of the windiest countries in Europe and, to put that into context, if we were able to harness all the strong winds that blow over the seas around our coasts we would be able to produce three times the amount of the UK 's entire electricity needs each and every year.
In the recent government publication "Our Energy Future - Creating a Low Carbon Economy" aspirations have been published where the ambition is to double the renewables share of electricity production within the UK from the original 2010 target, suggesting that 20% of all electricity generated will come from renewable sources by 2020.
During 2002 the UK installed a further net 87MW of wind turbines bringing our total installed capacity up to 552MW by the end of December. Europe itself has seen the wind market grow by an average of 35% per annum over the last five years.
The bulk of electricity generated in the UK is from one of three sources, coal, gas and nuclear power.
From burning coal to generate electricity we release harmful particulate emissions into the atmosphere and these same particulates are known to cause breathing problems and asthma. Additionally, the majority of coal fired power stations release sulphur dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the atmosphere, they in turn are responsible for acid rain. Coal is also one of the primary contributors to carbon dioxide emissions, a contributor to global warming.
Natural gas is undoubtedly a better option than coal, but even it results in considerable air pollution which again contributes to global warming.
Nuclear energy produces no particulate emissions, but it does create radioactive wastes which will require thousands of years of safe storage until the radioactivity is at acceptable levels.
On the other hand, wind is a completely free and renewable source of raw energy. In effect, as long as the sun shines causing the winds to blow we will have this source of energy forever. And a further advantage is that wind energy produces no health risks and contributes nothing to air pollution. And unlike nuclear energy, wind energy creates no wastes requiring disposal.
By harnessing this form of energy we can be sure that future generations will have a source of clean, cheap power for the rest of their lives. A single wind turbine can prevent up to 5,000 tons of carbon dioxide being emitted into the atmosphere each year.
Wind energy is obviously an intermittent resource and hence we only get electricity from the wind turbines when the wind blows. Although modern controls allow the turbines to regulate their production of electricity and for that matter level off at their rated capacity, the amount of electricity generated varies throughout the day.
Fortunately our distribution networks are capable accommodating this diverse load in a similar manner to what has been happening for years when actual demand fluctuates.
Wind energy is the fastest growing energy technology in the world, last year over 5.8 billion euros was spent in Europe installing new wind turbines, experts predict that by 2010 the global spend on wind energy will exceed 25 billion euros per annum.
Wind energy is here to stay, we cannot afford to wait to do the right thing anymore, we need solutions to global warming problems now, and without doubt wind energy is one of these solutions.
Energylinx firmly promotes the use of renewable energy technologies and our electricity price comparison calculators offer you the chance to source energy from a renewable or green supplier.