Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Wind power or photovoltaics?

Wind power is an interesting option for producing renewable energy. In contrast to Photovoltaics, wind generated energy costs less but it requires transmission infracstructure between wind parks and the consumers.Germany has more than 32 GW of installed wind power capacity and is now building transmission lines to transport the energy to the south.

How predictable is wind in comparison to PV output? The yield of both depend on some meterological factors which are hard to predict. However there is one big difference: you can easily calculate the maximum amount of solar intensity that your PV system has to cope with. With wind speed, it is hard to define a maximum possible wind speed, since on rare occasions wind speed can be significantly higher than the expected value.

Which could be dangerous: If the generator spins faster and faster, large forces produced could cause a wind turbine to self destruct:

Luckily, todays wind turbines have an overspeed control (a braking or featherin mechanism) and a cut-out mode. Still, I don't want them in my garden :-)

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