Wind turbines capture the kinetic energy of the wind and transform it into usable electrical power. The shape of a wind turbine’s blades are such that as the wind blows across the blades, it creates a pressure differential between the two sides of the blades, causing them to rotate in a circular pattern. This rotating motion of the blades turns a shaft that moves magnets within the nacelle of the turbine, thus producing electrical power.
Unlike traditional types of power generation technologies such as coal, natural gas, nuclear and oil, wind technology is regarded as quite possibly the best practical solution to meeting future energy demand. This is largely because it is a completely sustainable and clean form of energy. Furthermore, there are no adverse health effects, it is able to supply a large portion of energy markets throughout Canada, and it is an economically attractive solution to dirty and expensive traditional technologies.
Wind energy has also made enormous strides over the past few decades. The costs of wind power generation have fallen from approximately 80 cents/kwh in the 1980s, to 4 to 5 cents/kwh today. In addition, several studies have looked at the energy payback time of wind turbines and have demonstrated that it takes between 7 to 8 months to recover the energy use throughout its fabrication. Currently, wind turbines typically take between 3 to 8 years, depending on wind speeds at site, to pay back the energy required for their fabrication, operation, maintenance and retirement. This is especially attractive when compared to gas cogeneration technologies that are subject to escalating gas prices and nuclear technologies that are billion of dollars over budget. These costs are due to years of project delays and capital cost overruns and are furthermore passed on to ratepayers and taxpayers down the line.
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