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Wind Energy

Wind energy is a form of solar energy. Wind energy (or wind power) describes the process by which wind is used to generate electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy in the wind into mechanical power. A generator can convert mechanical power into electricity. Mechanical power can also be utilized directly for specific tasks such as pumping water.

Wind is caused by the uneven heating of the atmosphere by the sun, variations in the earth’s surface, and rotation of the earth. Mountains, bodies of water, and vegetation all influence wind flow patterns. Wind turbines convert the energy in wind to electricity by rotating propeller-like blades around a rotor. The rotor turns the drive shaft, which turns an electric generator.

The amount of land required for a wind farm varies considerably, and is particularly dependent on two key factors: the desired size of the wind farm (which can be defined either by installed capacity or the number of turbines) and the characteristics of the local terrain.

Typically, wind turbine spacing is determined by the rotor diameter and local wind conditions. Some estimates suggest spacing turbines between 5 and 10 rotor diameters apart. If prevailing winds are generally from the same direction, turbines may be installed 3 or 4 rotor diameters apart (in the direction perpendicular to the prevailing winds); under multi-directional wind conditions, spacing of between 5 and 7 rotor diameters is recommended

More than 54 GW of clean renewable wind power was installed across the global market in 2016, which now comprises more than 90 countries, including 9 with more than 10,000 MW installed, and 29 which have now passed the 1,000 MW mark. Cumulative capacity grew by 12.6% to reach a total of 486.8 GW.

Wind power penetration levels continue to increase, led by Denmark pushing 40%, followed by Uruguay, Portugal and Ireland with well over 20%, Spain and Cyprus around 20%, Germany at 16%;  and the big markets of China, the US and Canada get 4, 5.5, and 6% of their power from wind, respectively. GWEC’s rolling five year forecast sees almost 60 GW of new wind installations in 2017, rising to an annual market of about 75 GW by 2021, to bring cumulative installed capacity of over 800 GW by the end of 2021.

Under National Wind Resource Assessment programme, Ministry through National Institute of Wind Energy, Chennai (erstwhile Centre for Wind Energy Technology (C-WET)) and State Nodal Agencies had installed and monitored 794 dedicated Wind Monitoring Stations (WMS) of height ranging from 20 m to 120 m (20m, 25m, 50m, 80m, 100m & 120m) throughout the country as on 31.12.2014. Initially the wind monitoring was carried out only in known windy areas. Now it is extended to new/ uncovered areas which are not explored in earlier projects to complete the Indian Wind resource mapping. Further hundreds of private winds monitoring stations are also operational in the country.  Based on the analysis on the data collected from these 700 plus WMS, it is found that 237 stations have economically preferable wind power potential greater than 200 W/m2.

The Potential for wind power generation for grid interaction has been estimated at about 1,02,788 MW taking sites having wind power density greater than 200 W/sq. m at 80 m hub-height with 2% land availability in potential areas for setting up wind farms @ 9 MW/sq. km.

A total capacity of 22,465 MW has been established up to December, 2014, mainly in Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Rajasthan. Wind electric generators of unit sizes between 225 kW and 2.1 MW have been deployed across the country. India now ranks 5th in the world after China, USA, Germany and Spain in grid connected wind power installations. A cumulative total of over 179 billions units of electricity have been fed to the State Electricity Grids up to March, 2014.

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