A high demand for energy combined with the need to support environmental considerations means that there is a need to draw on some alternative sources of electricity generation available in Ontario. Renewable/Green Power is energy that can be generated from renewable resources, rendering only a minimal impact on the environment. There are several types of renewable energy sources available in Ontario.
What is wind power?
Wind power is the conversion of wind energy into more useful forms, usually electricity, using wind turbines. This source of energy is pollution-free and infinitely sustainable; it doesn’t use fuel, it doesn’t produce greenhouse gasses, and it doesn’t produce toxic or radioactive waste.
How does wind power work?
Wind energy is the kinetic energy that is present in moving air. The amount of potential energy depends mainly on wind speed, but is also affected slightly by the density of the air, which is determined by the air temperature, barometric pressure, and altitude. For any wind turbine, the power and energy output increases dramatically as the wind speed increases. Therefore, the most cost-effective wind turbines are located in the windiest areas. Wind speed is affected by the local terrain and increases with height above the ground, so wind turbines are usually mounted on tall towers.
What are the benefits?
- Wind energy is quiet and does not present any significant hazard to birds or other wildlife.
- When large arrays of wind turbines are installed on farmland, only about 2% of the land area is required for the wind turbines. The rest is available for farming, livestock, and other uses.
- Landowners often receive payment for the use of their land, which enhances their income and increases the value of the land.
- Ownership of wind turbine generators by individuals and the community allows people to participate directly in the preservation of our environment.
- Each megawatt-hour of electricity that is generated by wind energy helps to reduce the 0.8 to 0.9 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions that are produced by coal or diesel fuel generation each year.
Did You Know?
- Wind turbines are less hazardous to birds than high-rise buildings, automobiles, transmission lines and pet cats.
- Ambient noise from passing cars or rustling leaves is often greater than the sound of a wind turbine.
- Modern wind turbines are very reliable. They can withstand 180-kilometers-per-hour winds and temperatures as low as – 40°C.