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Why wind power?

As part of renewable energy sources wind power offers a possible solution for dealing with global climate changes and diminishing deposits of common energy sources. Wind is an inexhaustible, free source which can be converted to electric power without discharging hazardous emissions. Further, it is a local source, independent of import from politically unstable regions, which does not need protection and cannot be misused.

In the future renewable energy sources (RES) will generally play a crucial role in ensuring so called energy security of European countries which are strongly aware of their growing dependence on fuel export and have been attempting to change this situation by utilising domestic sources. A significant advantage of wind turbines is also the price of electric power, at present competitive in many countries without government subsidies and mostly competing with water power to become the cheapest renewable energy source. In EU countries it has been defeating with its price even newly constructed coal-burning power plants the operation of which gets costlier due to the necessary purchase of emission permits.

These are the key reasons why a large number of wind turbines have been built throughout the world recently, and this trend shall continue. In 2008 the total installed wind power capacity reached 120 GW, shared almost equally between the EU, North America and Asia, where the majority of wind turbines were built. An interesting aspect concerning EU countries is the fact that the capacity of wind turbines constructed in this region is now higher than of the second most common source – gas-burning power plants.

This extensive construction activities enabled also a fast development of technologies; the capacity of one wind turbine has increased within past 20 years from 50 kW to present maximum 6 MW. The growing capacity comes together with increasing height of towers and decreasing rotor revolutions, which has a significantly positive impact on the noise level and birds; however, higher production may have a negative effect on landscape character.

The Czech Republic has a sufficient wind potential for future installation of wind turbines with the total capacity of 2500 MW, which represents approximately 1000 turbines constructed throughout the whole country. In mid-2009, only 175 MW out of the total potential was utilised. From time to time it may be heard that a large number of wind turbines cannot be integrated to the grid; however, even the maximal level of 2500 MW would represent only 12.5 % of the total capacity of all sources in the Czech power system. At present, a share of wind power in a number of European countries already exceeds the maximum value for the Czech Republic, and these countries are capable of maintaining the control of their grids. In addition, an aspect at present strongly relied upon is the future installation of so called smart grids which shall be much less susceptible to electric power production and take-off.

Wind, biomass, sun, geothermal energy, and small hydroelectric plants are the only possible sources that may enable meeting the 13% share of RES from the total energy consumption, as specified by a binding EU Directive. This objective is to be met by 2020.

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