Wind power and solar power
resources that will never run out!
Doc Brown's Physics Revision
Suitable for GCSE/IGCSE Physics/Science courses or
power - wind turbines generating electricity
technology of wind power
Wind turbine blades are driven by the kinetic
energy of wind movement which in turn drive a generator (electrical energy).
Each set of turbine blades is connected to a generator to produce electricity
which can be fed into a domestic supply or, more likely, fed into the
They are sited in clusters ('wind farms') in
exposed locations on open land or out at sea (the
latter is a more expensive location to erect the turbines). Locations are
chosen after a
survey is done to see if a commercial amount of wind blows!
Advantages of wind power
Wind turbine technology
isn't cheap at the moment, BUT, as more are built and designs improve, they are becoming
more commercially more viable and the energy is free and maintenance costs
Free source of energy, however
unreliable, will never run out.
Disadvantages of wind power
It takes a great many wind turbines to generate the same amount of
electricity as a large scale power station.
Wind power generation is not capable of dealing with the
high energy demands of peak times eg peak travel times. and cooking because
unfortunately you cannot increase power production at all.
Some people object to what they
see as 'visual pollution' or 'noise pollution' but at one time hundreds of
windmills were a common sight in the countryside.
There are several other
problems too eg wind speed is variable and if it drops to zero, so does the
The technology of solar power
c) Know and understand that
'renewable' electricity can be produced
directly from the Sunís radiation.
You should know
that solar cells can be used to generate electricity and should be able to
describe the advantages and disadvantages of their use.
Solar cells (photovoltaic
cells) produce 'small scale' electricity direct from sunlight energy, it is
no good for a large scale electricity supply. Its free, but variable eg from
cloudy days to bright sunny days, and of course it cannot work at night - so
variable output is a problem, but it is being widely exploited in very sunny
countries from eg Spain to African states. The technology eg installation is
expensive, but getting cheaper and it is non-polluting when installed and
runs off free energy with very low maintenance costs. One important
advantage is that it easy to install on a small scale in remote areas not
connected to the mains electricity supply. Lately, many people in developed
countries are putting solar panels on their house roofs to generate
electricity which adds to the electricity supply (National Grid) and reduces
their own electricity bill. In developing countries it is a most important
and convenient way of generating electricity on a local small scale in
locations far from a national electricity supply.
Advantages of solar power
Free and non-polluting and never runs
Disadvantages of solar power
On average, for half the day is no
sunlight and the sunlight itself is of variable intensity e.g. cloudy to
Energy and power
supplies revision notes index
Energy resources and their uses - a general survey
Renewable energy (1) Wind power and
Renewable energy (2) Hydroelectric power and
Renewable energy (3) Wave power and tidal power
Biofuels, renewables and non-renewables
The 'National Grid' power supply
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