Wind power is a renewable energy source. It uses the power of the wind to produce green electricity. Wind power, or wind turbines, are usually built of turbines with three blades. These are connected directly to a generator that produces electricity. The energy source is an increasingly popular alternative for energy production. It is a clean option when compared to energy from fossil fuels. Therefore, wind power stations are commonly part of sustainability agendas that fight climate change.
Wind power globally
In 2021, about 10 % of global electricity came from wind and solar. This was a global record. The sector is growing very fast. For example, wind power grew about 14 % between 2018 and 2021. However, the same year, 2021, showed a record rise in coal power and emissions. More so, the power sector saw a record of CO2 emissions. Despite the investments in green energy. There was also a 5 % rise in electricity demand. These numbers are going in the wrong direction when considering climate change. Still, many governments aim to shift their grids to 100 % clean energy. While others, such as the EU, have set targets at 1/3 by 2030.
Wind power in China
The world leader in wind power capacity is China. The nation calls for about ¼ of the entire world’s wind capacity. Although, there is a difference between wind power capacity and how much of a nation’s total energy need is being generated from wind. The leader with the most electricity generated from wind power is Denmark with 52 %. The nation was followed by Uruguay, with 47 % (these numbers are from 2021).
To continue on China, it is important to recognise that 55 % of China’s energy still comes from burning coal (fossil fuels). In other words, the large investments do not mean that most of the nation’s energy is green. So far, wind power accounted for 7.5 % in for example 2021. Some figures show that China dominates the wind market, as it is responsible for about 40 % of wind power construction. The nation makes large investments in this energy source across the world. For instance, the Chinese government has invested in Swedish wind energy. More so, according to “Swedish Radio”, China accounts for 1/5 of the investments made in Swedish wind power.
Wind power across the world
The energy source is also expanding in other parts of the world. After China, for example, the US and Germany are big on wind power capacity. Yet, the nations have very high energy needs. This means that wind power does not account for much of the demand. Critiques state that there is a problem when energy companies try to meet the high demand of today. Instead of working with more efficient use of energy and lowering the need.
For private use
Today, there is also an increase in installing wind turbines for private use. For example, at summer cottages that are not connected to a public electricity grid. So-called wind maps are available that indicate which locations are suitable for wind power.
The biggest challenge with wind turbines is that the wind is not always blowing. Meaning that energy cannot be produced at all times. This issue can be countered by placing wind turbines across an entire nation, rather than in one central spot. The power is also suited to be combined with other renewable sources such as hydropower and solar power. More so, technology for storing energy is under development. Another solution is to adapt to the wind. Meaning that the use of electricity is the most when there is wind. Which would mean that items, like electric cars, would be charged when it is windy.
Another criticism of the energy source has to do with wildlife. As the constructions disturb other animals, such as birds getting harmed by the wind turbines. Therefore, it is important to consider the locations of power plants. For example, it is important not to place wind turbines in places where migratory birds usually pass. Other conflicts with wildlife occur during construction at sea. These are places that are also incredibly important for marine life and seabirds. One solution could be to place wind turbines where people already are, rather than out in the wild. However, this creates problems for the public. As wind turbines are large and noisy.