A wind farm is basically a group of wind turbines in close proximity under the control of one person or company. The top country in the world generating the most wind energy is Germany and the United States is in second place.
||Wind farms, according to Texas billionaire T. Boone Pickens and others, will soon become part of the landscape in the Midwest from the North Texas region up to North Dakota.|
This “Saudi Arabia of Wind” already has contracts with General Electric and others to produce multiple wind turbines in multiple locations.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, the top 10 wind energy producing states by ranking are:
9. New York
Wind farms typically come in one of three varieties including onshore, near shore and offshore. Onshore wind farms as the name implies can be any group of turbine constructed from the Rocky Mountains to Great Plains up to a few miles from the coastline.
Near shore wind farms are turbines that reside two miles from shore up to five miles out to sea. Because of the convection of air heating over land and sea, near shore wind turbines typically fair well.
Offshore wind farms are typically any installation five miles or more out to sea. Onshore and near shore wind farms typically receive more resistance from homeowners and environmentalists because of view disruption and migratory bird issues.
Offshore wind farms are more “out of sight, out of mind” so they commonly do not receive the same criticism. Offshore wind farms, however, are usually more costly to build, transport and construct than other turbines.
For wind farms to deliver electricity in a cost effective manner they need to be built in close proximity to power transmission lines or substations. A minimum of 10 mph constant wind is needed for many utility scale turbines to be viable, though research and development and now bringing down this figure.
Locations for wind farms need to be scouted with wind maps and studied for up to two years in order to test if a location is viable. Many times meteorological towers are constructed on potential wind farm sites and data collected for months until and assessment can be made about the robustness of the location.
Higher altitudes generally mean higher wind speeds due to less drag and lower air viscosity. Mountainous regions including ridgelines offer increase in wind speed due to topographical acceleration properties.
Wind turbines have been around for over 2,000 years and producing electricity for over the past 100 years. And, since wind power is the fastest growing segment of alternative energy in the U. S., wind farms will be here to stay for many generations to come.