At various levels of intensity over the past twenty years there have been calls for different “green technologies” to become more significant part of our lives. There has undoubtedly been a huge shift in environmental attitudes following the large evidence indicating the human impacts on global warming. These changes have seen the advent of various production methods of green or renewable energy sources, as well as evolutions in the way buildings are built and even the materials that are used.
Despite the relative success and potential for further developments, there is still a lot of scepticism and indeed opposition to these sustainable ideas. While materials for use within buildings, such as ETFE, solar panelling and eco-friendly wood are still widely embraced, energy sources have been under review for some time, with wind being the main source of consternation.
Wind Energy Pros
In terms of energy that is easy to harness at home on a day-to-day basis, wind has often been the most widely used along with solar panelling. One of the major plus points for wind was that it could generate more energy that solar power, particularly if it was being used in an unpredictable climate where wind is more prevalent than round the clock sunlight.
In terms of using it on your own residence, a small wind turbine is reasonably cheap, and is certainly more cost effective than installing solar panels, which can cost a lot of money and require at least 10 years in most cases before beginning to see a return.
Negative attitudes towards wind have been driven by the potential of wind turbines to produce energy on a much larger scale.
In the United Kingdom, the Government has even taken recent steps to cut subsidies given to wind farms to aid production, and is turning back to the use of gas for the foreseeable future. The biggest problem with wind on a large scale is that it can be very unreliable when it comes to producing the volume of energy needed. To use wind as a permanent power and energy resource, there would need to be an assurance of constant wind at all times, which obviously cannot be done or manipulated into happening.
Some companies are currently testing “kites” that will harness wind energy through being flown high in the atmosphere, where winds are constantly strong and guaranteed to create the required levels of energy. This also removes the need for wind turbines creating “visual pollution” at sea or in fields, although it remains to be seen how costs and operations will be managed.
About the author: This is an article by a representative of Vector Foiltec, who are one of the lpatent holders for the innovative ETFE material.