Wind power offers enoromous opportunities for the homeowner. . to both reduce their carbon footprint and to put cash in their pocket with lower energy bills.
Many countries are taking advantage of wind powered energy by using it for electricity generation. It is a renewable source of energy that is much better for the environment as compared to the burning of fossil fuels for electricity generation. Two critical terms that can be used to describe production of wind power are capacity factor and efficiency.
Wind Power Efficiency
Wind power efficiency is the amount of useful electricity that can be obtained from wind. 100% would mean that all of the wind energy is converted into electricity. This is, of course, impossible. Some energy is always lost; usually in the form of heat, which dissipates into the atmosphere. What’s the efficiency of wind turbines? Wind turbines are just as efficient as most other plants, such as coal plants. Wind energy systems can convert 30-40 % of the wind’s energy into electricity. A coal-fired power plant converts about 30-35 %of the chemical energy in coal into electricity.
Capacity is the capability of a power plant to generate electricity. 100% capacity would mean that a plant runs 24 hours a day for the entire year. The capacity factor of coal plants is 75. They can operate at all times of the day and in any season.
Wind machines are dependent upon the availability and speed of wind. Therefore, wind turbines cannot operate non-stop. Typically, wind turbines installed in a wind farm operates 65-80% of the time and has a capacity factor of 35-40%. Wind machine capacity can be increased significantly but, it will be very expensive. The decision to purchase a wind turbine is based on electricity output per dollar of investment.
Capacity factor refers to the actual annual energy output from a wind turbine divided by the theoretical maximum output, if the turbine were operating at its rated (maximum) power during all of the year.
But for the ordinary householder whose demands for energy are much less than that of a power plant, wind energy provides a real, clean, cheap alternative to their existing supply of electricity with a knock on reduction of significant proportions on their energy bills.