Top 15 wind turbine & wind energy facts

Representing the largest mode of renewable energy in the UK, wind power is a clean and safe method of generating electricity that, once all infrastructure is put in place, produces no carbon emissions or pollution. The UK is currently considered to be the world leader in producing and utilising wind power, particularly offshore, and has more installed wind energy capacity than any other country.

Wind energy facts

  1. Wind energy has been utilised for centuries…
    Although often considered a modern form of energy generation – especially when compared to the fossil fuel-based methods that have been widely used across the globe since the beginning of the industrial revolution – wind energy is actually one of human civilisation’s oldest forms of energy production. Windmills, which harness the power of the wind to grind grain and pump water, were first developed in China and Persia around 2000 BC, while ancient sailors used wind power to sail ships and discover new lands for millenia.
  2. Wind energy technology is still in its infancy…
    Although the practice of using wind energy to generate the electricity needed to power homes and businesses is becoming much more common – made clear by an increase of turbine-generated electricity of over 30 per cent globally since the year 2000 – there is still work to be done. Technology designed to squeeze every last drop of wind energy potential is becoming more advanced each year, however, relatively speaking, the wind energy industry is still in its infancy and has a long way to go to ensure that the pollution-free power of the wind is fully utilised.
  3. It’s one of the cleanest forms of electricity production…
    Currently around 60 per cent of the UK’s electricity is generated using fossil fuels. These methods produce large amounts of carbon emissions, which in turn contribute to global climate change. Wind energy, on the other hand, is one of the cleanest forms of producing electricity and, once turbines have been installed, it is carbon-free and causes next to no pollution.
  4. Wind energy does not require water to function…
    Unlike practically every other form of energy production – from the mining and burning of fossil fuels, to nuclear power, to, of course, tidal power – wind power is unusual in the sense that it does not require a source of water to function. Although this may not sound significant, this makes wind power more cost-effective than other forms of energy. By 2030, it is thought that the mass use of wind power in the US alone will save the equivalent of around 30 trillion bottles of water.
  5. The wind energy industry could drive the UK’s post-COVID-19 economic recovery…
    Following the havoc wreaked on the UK’s economy by the global COVID-19 pandemic, the green energy industry has been highlighted as a potential cause for optimism. In the wake of the 2009 financial crisis, the UK’s clean energy sector is thought to have contributed a least a third of the country’s economic growth the following year, with the value of offshore wind energy climbing 17 per cent. With the industry still growing, experts have suggested that the UK’s wind power industry could play a key role in kick-starting a similar recovery over the coming months and years.
  6. Wind energy represents the fastest-growing mode of renewable electricity production…
    According to Statista, global investments in wind energy technologies were calculated to reach around the US $130 billion mark in 2018 – more than was spent on any other renewable energy source.
  7. It’s cheap to generate…
    Wind power is one of the most cost-effective modes of generating clean energy. Although initial installation costs of turbines can be expensive, once a wind farm is fully operational, it can generate electricity at an incredibly low cost. Since 2015, the price of offshore wind power has reduced by 50 per cent and now represents one of the cheapest methods of electricity generation in the UK. In turn, this can help reduce your business electricity prices.
  8. The UK is in a great location to take advantage of wind power…
    With around 40 per cent of the total wind that blows across the continent blowing on and around the UK, it is the windiest country in Europe. This makes the UK’s geographical location ideal when it comes to taking advantage of wind power.

Wind turbine facts

  1. Wind turbines are huge…
    Typically standing around 300 feet tall, with three blades usually about 185 feet long, wind turbines are very large. For a little perspective, a standard wind turbine is roughly the same height as the Statue of Liberty in New York. However, larger offshore turbines can be as tall as 860 feet tall – only 200 feet shorter than the Eiffel Tower!
  2. Wind turbines generate electricity with the help of magnets…
    When the wind helps to spin the vast rotor blades on a wind turbine, the motion is used to drive a generator. The generator then spins to produce AC electricity from magnets that move over stationary wire coils. This electricity is then converted into DC electricity and is either stored in batteries or transported to the National Grid directly through power cables.
  3. Turbines only work if it’s windy…
    Although still cost-efficient, during a standard year, an average wind turbine will only operate at around 28 per cent of its maximum capacity if located onshore and 39 per cent if part of an offshore wind farm. Unsurprisingly, less energy can be produced during the summer months when average wind speeds typically drop.
  4. The world’s first modern wind turbine was built in the US in 1941…
    The Smith-Putnam turbine was the first megawatt-sized wind turbine built to be connected to the local distribution grid. The turbine was in operation for just 1,100 hours before suffering a mechanical error. However, it remained the biggest turbine ever built until 1979.
  5. The UK makes use of thousands of wind turbines…
    Have you ever wondered how many wind turbines are in the UK? Well, as of 2019, the UK had 9,711 wind turbines – 7,779 onshore and 1,932 offshore turbines found around the coastlines of the UK.
  6. Wind farms can have as few as five turbines or as many as 400…
    A wind farm is simply a collection of energy-producing wind turbines in one area of land or sea. The biggest onshore wind farm in the UK is in Whitelee, Scotland and has over 200 turbines, while ‘Hornsea Project 2’, due for completion in 2022, is set to become the UK’s largest offshore wind farm with around 360 turbines.
  7. Small wind turbines can be used at your home/business…
    If you’re looking to make your home or business more green, small wind turbines can be purchased and installed at your home or business premises and connected to your electricity circuit. These small turbines, which can be installed on the roof or in your garden, can be used to produce extra electricity, charge car batteries and other small appliances, or simply to provide back-up electricity in the event of a power-cut.

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