Posts about wind power

WindTree – Harnessing Breezes for Electricity

This style of wind power looks cool. The WindTree turns small breezes into electricity. Its production varies with the wind speed and its average output ranges between 1,500 kWh and 2,000 kWh. Peak power is 3,500 kWh.

But I don’t see how it can be effective given the large cost. The WindTree is being offered for installation late in 2017 in the USA and Canada at $67,500 – excluding delivery, installation and taxes (they estimate almost $100,000 total). It really seems to me the prices would have to come down by more than 75% to make any real impact in the market.

An average household in the USA uses 901 kWh per month.

The tree is 36 feet tall and 26 feet in width. The first trees were installed in France in 2015, the company is based in France.

It is good to see us investigating numerous ways to generate clean energy. But unless the price of this drastically reduces over time it doesn’t seem likely to contribute much to our energy needs.

Related: Chart of Wind Power Generation Capacity Globally 2005-2012Capture Wind Energy with a Tethered Turbine (2007)Engineering Floating Wind Farms (2010)Sails for Modern Cargo Ships (2008)

Chart of Wind Power Generation Capacity Globally 2005-2012

Chart of installed wind energy capacity by country from 2005 to 2012

Chart of installed wind energy capacity by country from 2005 to 2012 by Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog using data from the Wind Energy Association. 2012 data is for the capacity on June 30, 2012. Chart may be used with attribution as specified.

Wind power generation capacity continues to grow faster than the increase in electricity use. The rate of growth has slowed a bit overall, though China’s growth continues to be large.

From 2005-2012 globally wind power generation capacity increased 330%; lead by China with an increase of 5,250%. Of the leading countries Germany grew the least – just 63%. The percent of global capacity of the 8 countries listed in the chart (the 8 countries with the highest capacity in 2012) has been amazingly consistent given the huge growth: from a low of 79% in 2006 to a high of 82.4% in 2011 (2012 was 82%).

Global growth in wind energy capacity was 66% in 2008-2010. In 2010 to 2012 the increase was 28%. The second period is just 18 months (since the 2012 data is for the first half of the year). Extending the current (2010-2012) rate to the end of 2012 would yield an increase of 37%, which still shows there has been a slowdown compared to the 66% rate in the previous 2 year period. The decrease in government subsidies and incentives is responsible for the slowing of added capacity, though obviously the growth is still strong.

From 2005 to 2012 China’s share of global wind energy capacity increased from 2% to 27%, the USA 15% to 20%, Germany fell from 31% to 12%, India fell from 7.5% to 6.8% (while growing capacity 292%).

Hydro power is by far the largest source of green electricity generation (approximately 5 times the capacity of wind power – but hydro capacity is growing very slowly). And installed solar electricity generation capacity is about 1/5 of wind power capacity.

Related: Global Wind Energy Capacity Exceeds 2.5% of Global Electricity Needs (2010)Wind Power Capacity Up 170% Worldwide from 2005-2009Wind Power Provided Over 1% of Global Electricity in 2007

Engineering Floating Wind Farms

Webcast on floating wind turbines.

Related: Sails for Modern Cargo ShipsWind Power Capacity Up 170% Worldwide from 2005-2009Tidal Turbine Farms to Power 40,000 HomesWorld’s First Commercial-Scale Subsea Turbine

Wind Power Capacity Up 170% Worldwide from 2005-2009

graph of global installed wind power capacity from 2005-2009Chart showing global installed wind energy capacity by Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog, Creative Commons Attribution. Data from World Wind Energy Association, for installed Megawatts of global wind power capacity.


Globally 38,025 MW of capacity were added in 2009, bringing the total to 159,213 MW, a 31% increase. The graph shows the top 10 producers (with the exceptions of Denmark and Portugal) and includes Japan (which is 13th).

Wind power is now generating 2% of global electricity demand, according to the World Wind Energy Association. The countries with the highest shares of wind energy generated electricity: Denmark 20%, Portugal 15%, Spain 14%, Germany 9%. Wind power employed 550,000 people in 2009 and is expected to employ 1,000,000 by 2012.

From 2005 to 2009 the global installed wind power capacity increased 170% from 59,033 megawatts to 159,213 megawatts. The percent of global capacity of the 9 countries in the graph has stayed remarkably consistent: from 81% in 2005 growing slowly to 83% in 2009.

Over the 4 year period the capacity in the USA increased 284% and in China increased 1,954%. China grew 113% in 2009, the 4th year in a row it more than doubled capacity. In 2007, Europe had for 61% of installed capacity and the USA 18%. At the end of 2009 Europe had 48% of installed capacity, Asia 25% and North America 24%.

Related: Wind Power Provided Over 1% of Global Electricity in 2007USA Wind Power Installed Capacity 1981 to 2005Wind Power has the Potential to Produce 20% of Electricity by 2030

Wind Turbine Manufacturing in Colorado

Vestas picks Pueblo for plant

Danish wind turbine manufacture Vestas Wind Systems has chosen Pueblo for what it has said is a nearly $240 million manufacturing plant to build the steel towers needed to hold wind turbines aloft, state officials said Friday.

Two weeks ago, on Aug. 15, Gov. Ritter announced that Vestas was building two new manufacturing plants in Brighton. The wind-blade production plant and nacelle assembly factory represent a $290 million capital investment and will bring 1,350 new jobs to Colorado.

Just months before that, in March, the company opened Vestas Blades America Inc., a $60 million manufacturing plant in Windsor, north of Denver, employing about 464 people to build blades for wind turbines. Before that plant was even finished, the company announced in November 2007 that it would increase the plant 50 percent in size, production and employee numbers.

This is a reminder that manufacturing output continues to grow in the USA. In June they received an order for 500 MW in the USA. In October Vestas has received orders for 102 MW of turbines from Italy and 99 MW of turbines from Spain.

Related: Wind Power Provided Over 1% of Global Electricity in 2007Wind Power Potential to Produce 20% of Electricity Supply by 2030Home Use Vertical Axis Wind Turbine

Wind Power Provided Over 1% of Global Electricity in 2007

graph of global installed wind power capacity

Data from World Wind Energy Association, for installed Mega Watts of global wind power capacity in 2007. 19,696 MW of capacity were added in 2007, bringing the total to 93,849 MW. Europe accounts for 61% of installed capacity, Germany accounts for 24% and the USA 18%.

The graph shows the top 10 producers (with the exceptions of Denmark and Portugal) and includes Japan (which is 13th).

Related: USA Wind Power Installed Capacity 1981 to 2005Wind Power has the Potential to Produce 20% of Electricity by 2030Top 12 Manufacturing Countries in 2007Sails for Modern Cargo ShipsMIT’s Energy ‘Manhattan Project’

A Cheap And Efficient Wind Turbine

Energy Ball – A Cheap And Efficient Wind Turbine

Home Energy is a Swedish company which has designed a new wind turbine that is very silent and it’s based on six curved rotor blades attached to a rotor hub at both ends. The new and futuristic wind turbine is called Energy Ball and when it rotates it looks like a sphere and it creates a wind flow which resembles the rapids of a river – this wind flow pattern is called the Venturi effect.

Related: Capture Wind Energy with a Tethered TurbineHome Use Vertical Axis Wind TurbineWind Power Potential to Produce 20% of Electricity Supply by 2030Micro-Wind Turbines for Home Use

Wind Power Potential to Produce 20% of Electricity Supply by 2030

Wind energy has been growing tremendously. In 2000 there were 2,500 megawatts (MW) of installed wind capacity in the United States. By the end of 2007, the U.S. installed capacity exceeded 16,000. A recent Department of Energy report sees the potential to provide up to 20% of our nation’s electrical supply via wind power by 2030.

Related: Global Wind Power Installed CapacityElectricity SavingsGoogle Investing Huge Sums in Renewable Energy

Inspirational Engineer

One of the topics I care about is engineers making a real difference in the world. I lived in Singapore and Nigeria while I was growing up and traveled widely. My father was a professor of engineering (chemical, industrial), statistics and business. He was very interested in applying technology and human knowledge to help people have better lives, and I share that interest.

People like William Kamkwamba are the people that are worthy of respect. I wish the USA was more focused on people that are worthy of attention, instead of who the news media choose to show and people choose to read about. At least a few of you seem to like reading about those I do, based on the traffic this blog receives (well actually that would be a pretty poor metric, let say the attention popular science sites, magazines, podcasts, TV shows… receive).

Another video with William at TED. I posted about William previously: Make the World Better and Home Engineering: Windmill for Electricity.

Related: Appropriate Technologyposts tagged: engineersWhat Kids can LearnWater and Electricity for All

Global Wind Power Installed Capacity

The top five countries in terms of installed capacity are:

  • Germany (22.3 GW – gigawatts)
  • USA (16.8 GW)
  • Spain (15.1 GW)
  • India (8 GW)
  • China (6.1 GW)

Global capacity was increase by 27% in 2007. Record installations in US, China and Spain:

Wind energy has a considerable impact on avoiding greenhouse gases and combating climate change. The global capacity of 94 GW of wind capacity will save about 122 million tons of CO2 every year, which is equivalent to around 20 large coal fired power stations.

“We’re on track to meeting our target of saving 1.5 billion tons of CO2 per year by 2020”, said Steve Sawyer, “but we need a strong, global signal from governments that they are serious about moving away from fossil fuels and protecting the climate.”

Meeting energy needs using wind power is growing very rapidly, which is a great thing. It is still a small contributor to our overall energy needs but every bit helps.

Related: USA Wind power capacityCapture Wind Energy with a Tethered TurbineWind Power Technology Breakthrough

Make the World Better

Three ways to make the world better. First, Kiva is lets you loan money directly to an entrepreneur of your choice. Kiva provides loans through partners (operating in the countries) to the entrepreneurs. Those partners do charge the entrepreneurs interest (to fund the operations of the lending partner). Kiva pays the principle back to you but does not pay interest. And if the entrepreneur defaults then you do not get your capital paid back (in other words you lose the money you loaned). See my post: Helping Capitalism Make the World Better (if you donate to Kiva I have a Curious Cat Kivan – comment to have you link added).

Second, donate using the widget displayed in this post: to William Kamkwamba who built his own windmill in Malawi to get electricity for his home. The donations go to help him with his education and engineering projects. He is a young student and engineer. I have donated $50, I would love to see readers donate – do so and send me a link to your personal blog or personal home page and I will update this post with a link (only to a site obviously associated with you – I reserve the right to link or not link to whoever I want). [the campaign is over so I removed the widget – $943 was raised, the goal was $2,000]. A recent post to his blog: My sisters and cousins with their first books:

Some well-wishers sent many children’s books that are written or take place in countries around Africa in addition to English and American classics such as Where the Wild Things Are. All the children in my neighborhood, most of whom are cousins or sisters share these new books.

Third, create a Kiva like setup for donations that could be used to provide a source for finding remarkable people that have plans for possible donated funds. The potential is huge.

Related: Children’s booksAppropriate TechnologyWhat Kids can LearnLesson on Life$100 Laptop UpdateMillennium Development Goals

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