ELECTRICITY THROUGH WINNOWING WIND

DR.S.M.ALAM
Apr 27 - May 10, 2009

Presently all over the world, the total installed windmill power capacity stands at nearly 94,000 MW. Energies are obtained through the winnowing of wind, solar (sunshine), geothermal (heat from inside the earth), biomass (energy obtained from plants), and rivers and oceans (hydroelectricity).

These are some of the sources of renewable energies. Nearly 70 countries have laws and regulations to support the development of renewable energies such as wind, which is gaining importance because of spiraling cost of oil and gas and need to limit emissions because of global warming.

The Almighty Allah has filled up the earth, rivers and oceans with many natural resources such as water (71%), and with numerous quantities of oil, gas, minerals both ordinary and nuclear, coal, winds power etc. It is man, who has been producing electricity by utilizing the natural resources found inside the earth and on the earth.

In the present day world, the winnowing wind has been proved as a powerful natural source for generating electricity in most countries of the world, where the powerful wind resource is available. Around the world, the renewable energies targets have been set and the last decade saw an immense increase in the world wind energy output.

To generate any measurable power from wind, we need strong wind speed, of more than five meters per second. A problem with the speed of the wind is that it should be steady and consistent throughout the day.

The immense boost in wind energy has been possible due to modern designing of the equipments. The countries with the highest installed capacity are Germany 23,000 MW; China which has been generating more than 3,450 MW from wind has an impressive record of 156% increase of wind energy during recent years; Spain is producing 15,100 (40%) MW wind power; and the United States of America has seen great boom in the last decade and generates 19,540 MW from on-land and offshore wind farms.

The US has vast area of seashores from Maine State in the East to Washington State in the West. The USA has started its wind energy mill in 1940 and Europe in 1923. At present, there are 27 European countries that have full of natural resources. Denmark produces 8312 MW through coastal wind. A number of other countries including Italy, the UK, Holland, Portugal, Finland, Sweden, Ireland, Portugal, and Japan etc. have crossed the 3,000 MW mark of installed capacity.

The areas of most of these countries cover the coastal sea belts of North Seas, Mediterranean, etc. India is also harnessing 8000 MW from wind and increasing wind power with an astounding rate of 1700 MW each year. India started producing wind energy in 1982.

Windmill is the most environment-friendly source of power. It is reported that every single installed MW of wind power saves approximately 2,000 tons of CO2, 22 million cubic feet natural gas and 25 million litres of HSD. According to a survey report from Euro barometer published in January 2006, almost 80% of European Union citizens prefer renewable energies as alternate to high-priced oil and gas, while nuclear is preferred by only 12%.

Pakistan has a total installed electricity generating capacity of about 19,522 MW from different sources i.e. Hydel, Thermal, coal, and Nuclear. The break-up is Wapda 11,327MW, KESC 1,756 MW, PAEC 452 MW, and IPPs 5,977 MW. Of the total capacity, 5,000 MW (about 26%) is hydro while the rest 14,522 MW is thermal. Between 1985 and 2005, Pakistan's total installed power generating capacity increased nearly fourfold i.e. from 5229 MW to 19,522 MW. The breakup of energy consumption is 23% residential, 34% industrial, 34% transportation, 3% commercial, 3% agriculture, and 3% other government offices. The country is facing power shortage now.

Pakistan has yet to embark on ventures for full-fledged generation of renewable energy. The country is far behind in electricity generation through wind energy. The Alternate Energy Development Board (AEDB) was founded in May 2003 for supplying wind/solar energy in remote regions of the provinces. Pakistan has a long coastal belt of 1046 kilometers from Sindh to Balochistan, which is highly suitable for wind energy generation. In the long coastal areas, the gusty wind blows from March to November in almost normal speed. Due to its ideal geographical location, Pakistan possesses immense potential to harness unlimited solar and wind energy.

During the last two decades Pakistan has developed its potential in photovoltaic (PV) technology, which is suitable for small power requirements. So far, AEDB has installed small capacity wind turbines in the rural areas of Sindh and Balochistan with the collaboration of few NGOs and private companies. The Board has provided wind energy to about 750 households in some villages in Sindh and Balochistan.

After looking at the present energy crisis, there is an urgent need to plan for future energy requirement of the country through wind mills. As the country's population is rapidly increasing therefore government should look for long-term programmes to fulfill electricity requirement of the country through different sources.