The power of the wind has been used by civilizations for thousands of years. Windmills were often used to grind corn and sails harnessed the wind to move ships on the seas.
Today we have an increasing number of wind turbines built to make use of the wind. Often they are arranged in groups called wind farms. There are two types of wind farm: those on the land (called “onshore wind”) and those on the sea (called “offshore wind”). By locating the wind farms in areas with more wind (like around the British Isles), a lot of electricity can be generated. We know the wind doesn’t blow all the time and sometimes the wind can be too strong, so wind turbines are not generating electricity all the time and the amount they generate can go up and down. By locating lots of wind farms in many different places we can get some electricity generated at most times.
So what do we do when the wind doesn’t blow in our area? Well we can either link up with another area far away that may be generating much more electricity and share the power at different times (“electricity interconnectors”, a fancy way of saying we can link different grids) or we need to find a way of storing the extra energy from windy days to release on not-so-windy days (“grid storage”). We will probably end up doing both.
Here in the Nottingham Diocese close to the Lincolnshire coast there is a very exciting project going on right now. It is called “Viking Link” and it is a very long distance electrical cable connecting the wind farms of Britain with the wind farms of Denmark (765km). Have a look at the video to find out a bit more about this important project.
How can we support wind power?
Look for deep green electricity suppliers. These are suppliers who are actively building renewable generation including wind farms. If you don’t have green electricity today then ask for it. If you do, then ask your supplier how much is from wind power.