Industrial Scale Turbine Wind Power

Wind turbine farms are an excellent way to the tap the energy of wind, as highlighted by the number of installations in recent years.  Based on raw output, however, wind turbine systems do not compete well with our modern combustion based energy stations.  The energy stored in combustion fuels is significant, and as long as these fuels can be obtained at reasonable rates they will outperform the wind power market.

This is not as terrible of a fact as might initially seem.  The truth is, most things we’ve grown to take for granted in life require a solid industrial base. These industries include mining, metallurgy, timber, manufacturing, all the way down to the equipment we use to harvest our foods.   And this industrial base requires potent sources of energy. 

Let’s face it, when it comes to smelting ores, machining metals, and forging steel (just to name a few), these types of operations take a whole lot of juice.   Such a large and varied industrial infrastructure, then, is difficult to power on wind power or alternative energy systems alone.  The motive energy and processing is too significant.

This does not mean that wind turbine systems are undesirable, however.  They are an age-old, tried and true, and elegantly simple piece of machinery that taps an energy source that is free.  It simply means that wind turbines are better for supplying residential power, and for small scale commercial applications.

As an example, a 500 MegaWatt power plant can fit in a relatively small space, less than a 1/4 square mile without much difficulty.  As a comparison consider a wind power farm of equal capacity.  At 2 MegaWatts per wind turbine, then over 250 wind turbines would have to be put in place.  Imagine the space that this would take!  Keep in mind, also, that a steady supply of Wind is required which is not always the case.

Clearly, in locations that make sense wind power solutions should be part of our energy portfolio.  But we must not abandon the advantages of our modern combustion technologies; their efficiencies and cleanliness are much better than days before, and combustion is the most potent way to meet the high energy demands of our industrial base.