Wind power as a source of energy
Wind power is a renewable source of energy that has great potential in both onshore and offshore wind farms. It is one of the cleanest and safest of all the commercial methods of generating renewable electricity. The UK has the largest wind resource in the whole of Europe.
Wind energy applications in the UK range from small battery-charging applications producing useful electricity remote from the electricity distribution network, to large wind farms producing electricity competitive with conventional power stations. The United Kingdom ranks as the world's sixth largest producer of wind power, and we currently get up to 10% of our monthly supply of electricity from wind, a figure that's currently increasing each year.
Competitiveness of wind power with conventional sources
It's possible to produce electricity from wind for as little as 2 pence per kWh, comparing favourably with the cost of electricity from conventional sources. Low cost generation is only possible on the windiest sites. Typically, electricity from wind will cost between 2p/kWh and 10p/kWh depending on the scale and location. Overall, wind energy projects are simple, clean and relatively inexpensive to maintain. The land can still be part of the agricultural system and jobs are often created both in the short and long-term in the building and maintenance of the turbines.
Environmental impacts of wind power
Wind power produces no pollutants or emissions during operation, other than those required for maintenance. A typical wind turbine will repay the energy used in its manufacture in the first 6-9 months of its operation. The main area in which wind power impacts upon the environment is in its visual presence and, in some cases, with bird life or bats, both of which should be considered at part of a wider environmental impact assessment before installing a turbine.
More information about wind power and a list of suppliers is available on the Renewable UK website.