Wind turbines are the world’s fastest growing renewable energy resource. The range of interest is from large machines of several megawatt at one end of the scale to micro turbines at the other end, whilst the extension of wind farms to offshore locations is accelerating and leading to challenging issues of technical requirements, planning and legislation for all the participants in wind turbine and wind farm design. The development of wind turbines is delayed by objections of noise or vibration, which are often raised in relation to proposed developments. All those working in this area have to ensure that their knowledge is updated and shared with others, in order to promote the smooth development of wind turbines as a major source of alternative energy.
The November 2009 issue of Scientific American carries an article on how the world might meet all its energy needs though renewables by 2030 (A Path to Sustainable Energy by 2030, M Z Jacobsen and M A Delucchi. Scientific American Nov 2009, Volume 301, Number 5, 58 – 65). This thoughtful paper proposes that wind turbines will meet 51% of worldwide energy needs, provided by 3,800,000 turbines of 5MW capacity. The surprise which this figure raises is met, in the paper, by pointing out that the world manufactures 73,000,000 cars and light trucks every year. Whatever the outcome might be in 2030, it is clear that wind turbines will play a major part in renewable energy, and that we must be capable of responding to this challenge.