Monday, September 11, 2006

Hold on to your hat

You can feel it every time you step outside. It rustles the leaves across the street, or sifts through your hair. It can even create electricity by capturing its potential force with rotating blades. The wind is a natural event that occurs when masses of air at different temperatures move up or down. Hot air masses move up and cool air moves down. Zones where the temperature changes a lot are usually more windy, like coastal areas or mountainous regions. These places are ideal for wind power generators.

This past week has been dominated by wind power information. A consulting expert from Germany lectured on all that is wind power. His knowledge was vast and experience deep. It truly was a gift to have him speak about something he is so intimately involved in. Dr. Thomas Ackermann has travelled all over the world consulting governments, corporations and small business owners with all aspects of wind power. His treks to the north of Sweden to set-up wind site testing equipment and designing fields of turbines in New Zealand provided a unique learning experience. His lectures were interesting and very engaging, answering insightful and ridiculous questions.

What was it he said? The wind industry is in need of people, so go out there and make some money with the wind. In Europe alone, the need is reaching the 100,000 people level. Interesting to note the similar number for workers needed in the Alberta Oil Sands development. I guess you can make money digging sticky dirt or cruising high with the birds. Mmm...what would you choose?

The best lesson of the week though was the discussion of offshore wind power. Offshore developments are still in their infancy. Every project in Europe (leaders) has been designed differently and new technologies are continually breaking through the problems. First, it was materials to withstand the corrosion, next, the foundations in the water, after , the boats to install them and so on. The list of problems is still very long, but an interesting player has joined the team of high flying engineers. Offshore oil companies are using their expertise in platforms and drilling to lend a hand. Their experience will be valuable, which to me creates an interesting dichotomy between the two types of businesses. The black gold versus the invisible gold. Really it just comes down to the lure of the shiny glint, irrelevant to where its scooped.

Next time the wind is blowing your hair back or in your face, remember to take notice on the force it applies. This energy is free, as long as temperature differences exist, but to capture this free energy, sophisticated ingenuity needed to develop methods to convert it to something very useful, electricity. Even so, the Wind cannot be completely tamed. Theoretical physics proves that a max of 60% of the potential energy can only be captured, freeing the Wind to continue its reckless cruise over the earth.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

To master in creative ingenuity is to be able to transform the "unseen" into "the seen"
Is to be able to bring the "key" of real sustainable energy that will bring independence and freedom to all people and countries. Now we are under the yoke of slavery of multinationals that had created in us a believe that the only source of energy is the " balck gold" . The wind is free and ready for us to harness its power and energy with our creativity and ingenuity . The simple things become the real elements of freedom and the real "power" in the ability to create a strong self-determination nations.
By Ramdom Thoughts

4:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What about the noise of the wind turbine? What about the birds and bats that are killed every day with the wind turbines? Did you discussed those problems and do you have any idea how to stay in touch with the nature?

8:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You became a poet! Keep writing, it's good!

8:53 AM  
Blogger Swedish lamps and other energy tales said...

Thanks for the comments, people. I would like to say that Ramdom Thoughts hits the point right on. It is truely the simple things that need to be discovered and our energies dedicated to such endeavours.

About the bird and noise question. Birds and bats will always fall victim to any man-made structure. Buildings and vehicles will kill 1000s more birds and bats than all the wind turbines in the world could ever kill in their lifespan. So the idea is to try to minimize the risk by siting turbines away from habitats.

If you have every visited a wind turbine than you will understand that they are not noisy. There is no noise problem. People only imagine it.


2:00 AM  

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