Renewable Energy FAQs

What is Renewable Energy?

Renewable Energy is the term given to energy produced from natural resources for example wind, sun or biomass (trees and plant substance), which are deemed inexhaustible whereas fossil fuels (coal, oil and gas) will eventually run out.

How much fossil fuel do we currently use?

75% of mankind's energy consumption comes from fossil fuels. These fuels are finite and will deplete.

Why Wind?

Wind is a sustainable energy source, which is safe, clean, cheap and more importantly free of pollution. Every unit of electricity generated by a wind farm displaces a unit, which would otherwise be produced by conventional sources e.g. fossil fuels.

What is "Sustainable Energy"?

Sustainable energy is the term given to an energy supply that will never deplete.

What is a Wind Turbine as opposed to a Wind Farm?

A wind turbine is a single machine for generating energy from the wind whereas a Wind Farm is the name given to two or more of these wind turbines, which produce electricity to feed into the national grid.

What happens when it is not windy?

When the wind is not blowing, the turbines cannot generate electricity. When this happens other energy sources take over and provide electricity to the National Grid. However, there is direct correlation between wind speed and energy consumption i.e. in the winter, the winds are stronger and energy consumption is up and in the summer wind capacity is lower and consumption is lower. Also, there is more wind during the daylight hours than at night reflecting demand.

At what wind speed do the turbines begin to work?

The wind turbines generate electricity when the wind reaches approximately 4-5 meters/second (approximately 9mph) and shut down when the wind reaches a gale force 25m/s (approximately 56mph) to prevent damage to the turbines

What is m/s (meters per second) in real terms?

An m/s or meter per second equals 2.24 miles per hour.

What is the lifetime of a turbine?

A modern turbine lasts up to 20 years. When the turbine outlives its' useful life, it can be removed, the site restored and most of the turbines can be recycled.

What does the developer do to curb Visibility issues in the pre-planning stage?

In designing a wind farm, the extent of its visibility is reduced to the minimum technically possible. From there, the layout of the wind farm is adjusted, so as to minimise the impact of the way wind turbines will look in the landscape from where they can be seen.

What mitigation measures are carried regarding Flora and Fauna?

A senior botanist is engaged to monitor each chosen site and confirm that a wind farm does not have any adverse effects on flora on the proposed site or its' environment. Sites are also carefully assessed in consultation with the National Parks & Wildlife Service, relevant Regional Fishery Boards and IWC Bird Watch Ireland. Each body will assess and confirm that the sites are "not near or inline with any migrating flight path and will not have any adverse effect on any other wild life in the area".

What studies are carried out with regard to Water and Soil?

Energia carries out research, as part of their Environmental Impact Statement, into the possible effects of a wind farm on the surrounding water, rock formation, soil and bogs to ensure that the turbines will have no detrimental effects on any of the aforementioned.

How much Carbon Dioxide is actually emitted by humans?

Every year humans emit approximately 26 billion tonnes of Carbon Dioxide into the atmosphere, which equates to 48,000 tonnes every minute.

What is Global Warming?

Global Warming is the damaging effect that burning fossil fuels has on the environment for example, experiencing higher winter rainfall with more severe flooding, lower summer rainfall and water shortage, rising sea levels, accelerated coastal erosion, loss of bogland and threats to agriculture due to additional pests and diseases.

What is the UNFCCC?

The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. This group put in place policies and measures to reduce emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2010.

How much energy can wind power supply?

A study by the U.S. Department of Energy concluded that the world's winds could theoretically supply the equivalent of 5,800 quadrillion BTUs (quads) of energy each year. This is more than 15 times the current world energy demand. (A quad is equal to about 172 million barrels of oil or 45 million tonnes of coal).

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