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Wind and Solar Energy

Wind Energy wind is the movement of air caused by differences in atmospheric


pressure. Air moves from higher to lower pressure as a result of uneven heating of Earths
surface by the sun. Hot air rises and cooler air moves down, forming wind currents. Wind
varies in duration and strength. Short-duration, high-speed wind is called gust, while longduration wind with various strengths are referred either as breeze, gale , storm, or
hurricane.

Mechanical power can be produced from wind flows or air current. Since ancient time, it
was used to turn windmills and wind pumps and to sail large ships across oceans. Wind
power is now becoming one of the mainstream source, particularly in areas where there is
consistent strong wind year-round.

Wind power is harnessed using mounted turbines attached to towers with height ranging
from 20 to 100 m. Modern systems usually have three long blades that spin and cause the
turbine to generate electricity. A collection of individual wind turbines is called wind farm. It
is connected to an electric power transmission network or power or power grid. Wind
farms are built onshore in flat areas, usually near coastlines. In other countries, offshore
wind farms are developed due to stronger and steadier offshore winds compared on land,
but development and maintenance costs are higher.

In the Philippines, wind resources are strongly dependent on latitude elevation, and
proximity to the coastline. Hilltops, mountain ridges, and coastlines in the northern and
central regions of the country are the best locations because of their excellent exposure to
prevailing winds. The first wind farm in the Philippines is located in Bangui, Ilocos Norte
with the total capacity of 33 MW. In 2015, a 54-MW wind farm consisting of 27 towers was
built in Pililla, Rizal.

Wind is a clean energy source which produces no air or water pollution because there is no
fuel burned to generate electricity. The most serious environmental impact from wind
energy is its possible effect on bird and bat morality. However, wind turbine designs have
been improved to address this concern. Turbine blades are now solid, which will not entice
birds to perch, and the blades surface area are much larger so that they do not have to spin
as fast slower-moving blades reduce bird and bat collisions.

Solar energy the energy coming from the sun is called solar energy. The amount of solar
energy Earth receives in every hour is more than enough energy to satisfy global energy
needs for a year. Plants are directly using this energy for photosynthesis. Animals including
humans, are using this energy by consuming plants and by absorbing vitamin D.

Converting solar energy into electricity requires solar collector. One example of solar
collector is called concentrated solar power. It involves mirrors, lenses, and tracking system
that focuses light into a receiver and generates heat. The heat is used to generate electricity
from conventional stream-driven turbines.

Another kind of collector involves the use of photovoltaic or solar cell. Photovoltaic refers
to the direct conversion of light into electricity at the atomic level. A solar cell consists of
semiconductor materials (usually silicon) made into thin sheets called wafer. They are
treated to form an electric field positive on one side and negative on the other.

The electricity generated by solar cells can be stored in batteries which could be used
anytime. Battery setup and maintenance, however, add significant cost to the solar power
setup.

Solar energy produces no air or water pollution or greenhouse gases. However, the
manufacturing of photovoltaic cells (PV) used in storing solar energy produces some toxic
materials and chemicals. Solar systems can also affect ecosystems as it requires a large area
for the solar panels.

Biomass
Biomass is the oldest source of energy ever since prehistoric man
discovered fire. Biomass is a renewable energy because it can be replenished on
regenerated within the human time scale as a compared to fossil fuels whose
formation extends through geologic time. In the context of resource, biomass is
defined as biological material derived from living or recently decreased organisms
which may include both plant life, including fuel, wood, animal dung, and
agricultural wastes. Examples of which are dendrothermal, alcogas, and biogas.

Unlike fossil fuels, which is also energy derived from the remains of plants and animals that
have died millions of years ago, biomass take carbon out of the atmosphere while it is
growing, and returns it as it is burned. A properly managed biomass maintains a closed
carbon cycle, with no net increase in atmospheric CO with the burning of fossil fuels.

However, there will be detrimental effects to the environment if the production of biomass
is not properly managed and sustainable agricultural processes are not followed. It may
lead to problems such as soil degradation, erosion, and desertification especially with the
practice of monoculture. Irresponsible application of fertilizers may lead to nutrient loading
in receiving water bodies causing eutrophication and fish kills.