The benefits of such a combination of power sources outweigh the disadvantages characteristic of the individual power sources (Schleede, 2003). A wind power -- diesel hybrid typically will have significantly lower operating costs than a primary diesel electric generator. State-of-the-art intelligent microprocessor-based controllers are now making such systems easy to arrange. Stand-alone wind power systems will only provide power when the wind is blowing. Thus, the power output is variable, unless a storage system is available. Also, a hybrid system with a diesel generator makes storage unnecessary.
Wind energy is a partial solution to environmental problems created by other power-generating technologies. For example, in 2003, California's wind power plants offset the emission of more than 2.8 billion pounds of carbon dioxide from relatively clean-burning gas fired power plants (Schleede, 2003). These same wind power plants offset 16 million pounds of nitrogen oxide, sulphur dioxide, and particulates which would have been emitted from California's oil-fired power plants. Also wind energy generation has no adverse effect on water supply (Gardner, 2009).
Once installed, wind turbines have little or no impact on ground-based flora or fauna. Impacts on humans include interference with electromagnetic signals, aero acoustic noise generation, and visual pollution. All of these require careful attention to project design as well as sitting clusters of machines away from highly populated areas. Regulation of noise level is under consideration in some countries. The most recent Danish regulation recommends a 45-decibel (dB) level at a 200-m distance from the nearest dweller (Schleede, 2003). In residential areas a noise level of only 40 dB is permitted. At present, there are no standard maximum permitted noise levels specifically for wind turbines in any Caribbean country. For wind farms, with say 30 turbines of 300 kW each, 45 dB at 500 meters distance is acceptable (Pew Center, 2010).
The majority of wind turbines supplying power to the grid work at a preset speed employing an induction generator. These three-phase generators are connected to the grid by means of suitable transformers. In a number of situations they can be coupled straightforwardly online or by means of uninterrupted thyristors configured to allocate a soft start facility. A little static reparation is incorporated in the bond to reduce the load on the grid for reactive power supply, which would consequently become a price tag to the wind turbine manager. Wind farms (a collection of wind turbines) are most efficient when linked to well-built sections of the high-voltage grid line. Solitary machines can be linked to the 11 kilovolts (kV) distribution transmission line (Pew Center, 2012). More often than not, no technical difficulties are seen in assimilating into the grid. It is recommended that no less than 15% wind energy diffusions can be held without trouble.
On the other hand, at a local level, incorporation problems turn out to be more important as considerable amounts of wind power are set up in a specific region. According on the fault level of the network at a particular end, if the installed wind capability is excessively high, intolerable voltage fluctuations may happen. Excessive fluctuations in the power production as a result of wind turbulence or wind turbines coming off line will generate voltage flicker. Power electronic boundaries are being used to a greater extent to help in reducing the brunt of wind turbines on the grid (Wind-Farm Placement, 2009).
Wind turbines are also a potential electromagnetic interference source. Telecommunication interference can occur and so plant locations should avoid microwave transmission paths, keeping a 5-km clearance from radio stations and airports (Pew Center, 2012). Safety for people and property is an environmental concern in wind farm installation (Pew Center, 2012). Blades and other structures can fail, so people and property should have proper clearance. In Denmark, regulations forbid roads and buildings to be sited at less than 90 meters plus 2.7 times the rotor diameter from the nearest turbine of a wind farm. A primary impact of wind turbines is visual. This is exacerbated by the need to site wind farms in the windiest areas, usually exposed high areas, which often have a natural beauty. Perhaps wind farms should not be sited within nature reserves and other protected areas or special areas of conservation.
Gardner, D.T. (2009, April 17). Impact of Wind Turbines on Market Value of Texas Rural Land. Presentation.
Pew Center, (2010). Race to the Top: The Expanding Role of U.S. State Renewable Portfolio Standards.
Pew Center. (2012). Renewable & Alternative Energy Portfolio Standards.
Schleede, Glenn R. (2003, April 7). The True Cost of…