• W&S

Hershey Middle School Science Class


In an effort to educate the communities we serve about the growing field of renewable energy, Wind and Solar LLC is proud to present the following material pertaining to Wind and Solar Energy technologies to the students of Hershey Middle School. We extend our thanks to the Science teachers and other staff members that worked to make this possible.

Contents:

1. Reasons to Switch to Renewable Energy

A) Pollution

B) Economics

C) Energy Independence and Sustainability

2. Wind Energy

A) How does Wind Energy Work

B) Finding Available Wind Resource

C) Problems and Solutions with Distribution

3. Solar Energy

A) Different Solar Technologies

B) Commercial vs. Residential

C) Net-Metering Law

1. Reasons to Switch to Renewable Energy

The reasons for switching to renewable energy are obvious when examined against today's most common forms of energy. Coal, Petroleum, and Natural Gas are all considered fossil fuels and combined currently make up about 80% of our Energy supply in the USA.

1-A) Pollution

Fossil fuels produce CO2, Methane and other greenhouse and harmful gases when burned to produce energy.

These gases are responsible for increasing the average temperature of our planet, which is devastating to important ecosystems such as the Great Barrier Reef and the Polar Ice Caps.

Fossil Fuels also produce gases that are harmful to people's health as well as other animals. For Example; Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions, a byproduct of all fossil fuel combustion, contribute to acid rain and ground-level ozone (smog), which can burn lung tissue and can make people more susceptible to asthma, bronchitis, and other chronic respiratory diseases.

Another form of pollution is created during the mining and extraction of fossil fuels. The chemicals used for extraction, and the erosion caused by mining, devastates the habitats of hundreds of species in ecosystems around the world.

Even more pollution is created when an accident related to fossil fuel mining and transportation happens.

Increasing the amount of energy from Clean and Renewable Energy Sources that we use in the world today will help to reduce the amount of pollution and damage to ecosystems that are essential to not just the health of our planet, but our own health.

1-B) Economics

Since the Wind and the Sun are free and can be found in abundance, it makes little economic sense to continue to pay for a continued supply of fossil fuels in the long run.

>Fossil Fuel Associated Costs:

Power Plant Construction + Operation and Maintenance + Fossil fuel mining and extraction + Disaster Relief + Health Associated Costs

>Renewable Energy Associated Costs:

Power Plant Construction + Operation and Maintenance

1-C) Energy Independence

One of the main benefits of Renewable energies like Wind and Solar, is that they get used close to where they get made. This means that the people using it don't have to rely on other people, companies, or governments to give them the energy they need. Not having to rely on others for your needs has obvious benefits.

2. Wind Energy

Wind energy is one of the cleanest and fastest growing forms of energy in the world thanks to the plentiful availability of the wind and the decreasing cost of Wind Energy Generating Equipment.

2-A) How does Wind Energy Work

2-B) Finding Available Wind Resource

In order to make a Wind Generator cost effective, the most important part of any project is determining whether there is enough Wind at the location of interest. Wind will depend on location and Height of the Tower supporting the wind generator. Here are two different maps showing the difference in Wind Resource Potential at 100 feet (30 meters) vs 260 feet (80 meters)

These maps only provide a rough idea of where to find a good Wind Resource when planning a wind farm. A detailed year/ multi-year Wind study must still be performed at the proposed site of installation to get an exact measurement on wind resource and determine whether it is a viable site. A wind study will typically consist of the installation of a temporary tower that holds wind measuring devices called anemometer (measures wind speed) and a wind vane (measures wind direction). The reading from these measurements will be analyzed with advanced computer modeling software to optimize the layout of the Wind Farm.

2-C) Problems and Solutions with Distribution

As can be seen in the wind map above, most good land-based wind resources are in remote areas such as the rocky mountains and great plains as well as other mountain tops scattered around the country. Since the majority of the population does not live near mountain tops, it makes it especially challenging to bring the electricity produced on a mountain to a city with a lot of electricity usage. This is one of the major expenses that needs to be considered when building a wind farm.