Essay on Environmental Impact of Wind Energy
A familiar feeling to many students is apathy towards subjects they feel they will never use. For example, the concept of thermal energy transfer is frequently lost on students. “What’s the point?” they may ask themselves. These students, however, should be asking “How can this benefit us?” If they did, they would learn that convection, conduction, and radiation can all be used as a renewable way to generate energy. Specifically, the theory of convection can be applied to develop wind turbines.
Firstly, what is convection? According to Dictionary.com, convection is “the transfer of heat by the circulation or movement of the heated parts of a liquid or gas.” Put differently, convection is heat transfer through the movement of fluid. This phenomenon can be found in boiling water. The water nearest to the heat source loses density and rises. This movement forces the cold water at the top down towards the heat source. The cold water heats, rises to the top, and the cycle continues.
With this information, how does convection apply to wind turbines? Along with water, convection can be found in the air. Our atmosphere has its own convection currents caused by the sun’s uneven heating. These convection currents generate wind, which moves through the blades of a wind turbine. This energy moves the main shaft, connected to a generator. In summary, convection currents create wind, which moves parts of a wind turbine, creating electricity.
Wind turbines vary in size and location, but there are generally defined characteristics. Wind turbines are frequently about 280 feet tall, and they include three blades angled to face the optimal direction to catch energy. This energy can be collected from six to fifty-five mile per hour winds. Often wind turbines are collected in large groups called wind farms. These wind farms are able to produce more energy than a lone turbine.
As a form of clean energy, wind farms can have a considerable positive impact on the environment, as well as local economies. Wind energy generation replaces the harvesting of non-renewable resources and those releasing pollutants. Therefore, wind turbines help combat climate change. Along with this beneficial impact on the environment, wind turbines benefit local communities by producing new jobs. The economies based near wind farms will grow and benefit from this clean energy industry.
Conversely, wind farms can have a negative effect on the environment. They have been observed to kill birds and bats, including endangered or protected species. Moreover, wind turbines can be a blot on the landscapes of natural areas. Nevertheless, wind turbines’ benefits outweigh these costs.
In conclusion, wind turbines are an efficient, clean way to harness the power of convection to produce energy. Despite the dullness of the subject, convection, as well as conduction and radiation, are important to our endeavors to produce energy without depleting our natural resources. This information is something that may not be clear to students learning the subject. What is clear, however, is that they should devote more attention to what they are learning, because it may be a way to save our planet.