Economic and Ecologic Analysis of Wind Energy as Steps in Starting a New Business

Economic and Ecologic Analysis of Wind Energy as Steps in Starting a New Business

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-3625-3.ch004

Abstract

Wind energy has a long history but in the last decades the technological development and the increasing energy efficiency push this business on a top position for the installed renewable energy capacity worldwide. For a better understanding of the economic and ecologic analysis of the business into the wind energy sector, in this chapter, are presented the main principles and energy concepts related to renewable energy, especially for wind energy. The analysis is focused on the importance of the main elements of a wind turbine and its costs structure. The wind turbine is analyzed also along its lifecycle in order to identify the environmental impact from the row material extraction to the end of lifetime. The main objective of this chapter is to understand the importance of wind energy as a renewable energy and how to use the kinetic energy of wind in order to generate electric energy taking into account its efficiency and also its impact on the environment.
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Sources For Renewable Energy And Energy Concepts

Energy exist in many different forms as: electrical energy, mechanical energy, thermal energy, radiation energy, light energy, kinetic energy, magnetic energy, nuclear energy, chemical energy and also potential energy (for ex. a liter of oil is a potential source of energy). Generally, energy is the ability of a system to cause external impact and is represented in the unit system by Joule (J). However, in business, if it is registered the electricity bill, the energy is expressed in kilowatt-hour (kWh).

The main energy sources are fossil fuel-based and renewable energy sources. Fossil fuel-based (coal, oil and natural gas) are considered classical energy sources and have the advantage of their ready availability. Renewable energy sources are energy resources that are inexhaustible within the time horizon of humanity. Renewable types of energy can be subdivided into three areas: solar energy, planetary energy and geothermal energy. These renewable energy have a positive impact on the climate and also inexhaustible practical applications.

When it is analyzed energy are observed a number of energy levels that correspond to different conversion stages: primary energy, secondary energy, final energy and useful energy. For all these levels, and for all forms of energy the “Low of energy conservation” states that the energy can neither be destroyed but can be transformed to others forms of energy or can be exchanged between different parts of a system. It is important also to mention that the energy content of an isolated system remains constant.

Generating energy means also converting energy from one form into another. Power plants convert light energy from the sun into chemical energy needed for grow. A photovoltaic cell convert radiation energy into electricity or a wind turbine convert kinetic energy from wind into mechanical energy.

Primary energy sources (lat. “primus”) are reflected from nature and represent the original energy that has not been processed. In this category are included the renewable energy sources (solar, hydro, wind, marine and biomass), and the classical sources (coal, oil, gas and uranium). The primary energy sources are transformed through power stations or refineries in secondary energy.

Secondary energy is the energy ready for transport or transmission. It is obtained direct electricity from most renewable sources. In the case of fossil fuel resources, from oil it is obtained refined oil and diesel and from gas or coal it is produced electricity or heat. As a result of this transformation process it is also obtained heat and material loses.

Final energy is the energy that is received or bought by consumers. In fact the final energy is the secondary energy minus transport loses. This is represented in form of electricity or heat. When we are using the energy this is converted from one form into another. This final energy is transformed as the consumers need into: light, mechanical force, heating and powering of equipment. These are called useful energy. This useful energy is the energy that is an input or an end-use application. The term “useful” is influenced by the system that is using the energy. If it is considered a lighting system the useful energy is light.

Table 1.
Energy flow
EnergyPrimarySecondaryFinalUseful
TechnologyConversion by power plant, refinery, hydropower plant, digesterTransport by trucks, pipes, wiresMotors, heaters, stoves
Examplescoal, oil, hydro, wood etc.refined oil, electricity, biogascharcoal, diesel oil, electricity, biogaspower, heat, light

Sources: Own contribution.

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