There have been high levels of advancement in technology in the societies, especially when considering their ability in sustaining increased population growth. The advancement has resulted in changes in the total energy consumed and hence the availability of energy that can fulfill needs of the people in both sustenance and in performing daily work. According to the researchers, if the accessibility of energy is low, it would be reflected in the poverty level of the society. Energy and electricity to be precise, are of great importance especially in providing many services that are essential to ensure economic growth, for instance, healthcare, food, communication, employment and education (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011).
For the past years, a lot of energy that is being utilized in the societies has been produced from fossils and nuclear fuels. These resources are currently faced with severe issues, for instance, economic affordability, security of supply, disaster threats and capability of being sustained by the environment. To be in a better position of addressing these challenges, there has been a significant application of effort by many countries to supporting and to enacting of policies that are focusing on increasing the use of renewable energy technologies (Cherubini, Papini, Vertechy, & Fontana, 2015).
Wind energy technology is a renewable energy source generated from the wind meant to be applied in practical applications, for instance, in generating electricity, pumping water, charging batteries and grinding grains. Wind energy in most cases can be used as a stand-alone, or it can be connected to a utility power grid. In the case of utility power grid, many turbines are put in place close to each other forming a wind farm that is used in providing grid power. Electricity providers in most cases use wind farms when supplying power to their consumers. Most applied turbines configuration currently are horizontal axis turbines that are made up of a tall tower, a controller, generator and atop which sits on a rotor that looks like a fan and it faces either into or away from the direction in which wind is blowing among other components (Cherubini et al., 2015).
Horizontal axis turbines are allocated at a high level about one hundred feet or more over the ground on a top tower to enable it take advantage of the strong and less unstable wind. It has a minimum of two blades which act like an airplane wing in that, when the wind is blowing, a low-pressure pocket of air is formed on the windward side of the blade. The rotor is then turned by the effects of low-pressure air pocket pulling the blade towards it, and this whole process is referred to as lift. The wind force that is applied in the direction against the front side of the blade is less strong compared to the force of the lift that is referred to as drag. Combining both the lift and drag causes the spinning of the rotor like a propeller, and the turning shaft spins a generator resulting in the generation of electricity (Cherubini et al., 2015).
A new class of wind energy converters has been conceptualized, and it is commonly referred to as Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWESs) that fall among the new technologies that are applied to generate electricity from renewable resources. Airborne Wind Energy Systems is a generation of novel systems that uses flying wings that are confined by a rope or aircraft. Tying of the wings with rope or aircraft is meant to enable AWESs to get to a level where winds blow at atmosphere layers which conventional wind turbines could not manage to access. The researching on AWESs was initiated in the mid-1970s, where the research accelerated speedily during the last decade. There have been examination and testing of a huge number of the systems that are based on fundamentally diverse ideas (Cherubini et al., 2015).
Airborne Wind Energy
Airborne Wind Energy (AWE) is a renewable energy from the wind that is generated from high attitude. Researchers, scholars, climatologists and meteorologists have studied and researched on high attitudes wind energy for the past decades. The initial research was conducted with an aim of evaluating the potentiality that AWE has as a renewable energy resource. The research by the scholars introduced a study that was to assess the massive global availability of kinetic energy that wind has at high attitudes that range from 0.5 km to about 12 km above the ground. The research was also meant to provide clear geographical distribution and persistence maps that were to show power density at various ranges of altitude. The research according to the scholars failed to consider the adverse effects of climate and wind as a result of extracting kinetic energy from the wind. Nevertheless, the initiation of this research raised the attention of many interested parties including scholars, researchers, and engineers hence suggested the great practicability of technology that would enable harvesting of energy from high altitude winds (Cherubini et al., 2015).
The studies that followed were conducted in depth without omitting any significant detail concerning the wind energy system technology. The research employed complex climate models that have managed to make predictions about effects that are associated with the usage and introduction of wind energy harvesters which exert drag forces that are distributed against the wind flows in both the service levels and at high attitudes. Some researchers have estimated a maximum of about 400 TW of kinetic power could be harvested from the winds that are blowing near the surface using traditional wind turbines. They also estimated that a maximum of 1800TW of kinetic power could be harvested through the whole atmospheric layer using both the high altitudes wind energy converters and the conventional wind turbines. Even though there are high chances of experiencing adverse and severe effects which could affect the global climate as a result of extracting massive energy from the wind, the scholars have indicated that the extraction of about 1800TW which is the quantity that is equivalent to the amount that the world demand have minimal unfavorable consequences at global scale. These results hence are an indication that a large amount of energy can be harvested at different attitudes from the wind. The results also indicate the existence of many great business opportunities in the field of Airborne Wind Energy (Cherubini et al., 2015).
Classifying Airborne Wind Energy Systems
Airborne Wind Energy Systems (AWESs) is the electrically operated mechanical device that is used in transforming kinetic energy obtained from the wind into electrical energy. AWESs are in many cases made of two major components that are ground system and not less than one aircraft. The components are connected mechanically, using ropes which are referred to as tethering, but they are in some situations connected electronically. Ground-Gen systems can be distinguished from different concepts of AWESs in that the process of converting the mechanical energy into electrical energy on the ground. On the contrary, a Fly-Gen system, which is the process of changing mechanical energy into electrical energy occurs on the aircraft. Electrical energy in the case of a Ground-Gen AWES (GG-AWES) is produced on the ground level. The process involves carrying out mechanical work through the application of traction force which is transmitted from the aircraft system using a minimum of one rope that triggers the movement of an electrical generator. GG-AWESs can further be differentiated between moving and fixed-ground-station devices. A fixed-ground-station device is fastened on the ground. This is contrary for the moving ground device where the ground station is a moving vehicle. The production of electrical energy in the case of Fly-Gen AWES (FG-AWES) is on the aircraft and transmission to the ground occurs through a special rope that is used to carry electrical cables. The conversion of electrical energy for the case of Fly-Gen AWES (FG-AWES) is through the use of wind turbines. FG-AWESs continuously generate electric power when it is operating except during the two episodes where energy is consumed which include taking off and landing maneuvers. It is also possible to find the cross and non-crosswind systems among FG-AWESs, and this depends on the way they function to produce power (Cherubini et al., 2015).
Fixed-ground-station GG-AWES, also referred to as pumping kite generators, is one of the most studied in detail by the academic research laboratories and the private companies. Here, energy is being converted through undergoing a two-phase cycle that is made up of generation phase and a recovery stage. Production of electrical energy takes place in generation stage while in recovery phase consumption of a smaller quantity of energy is experienced. Ropes in these systems are subjected to attraction forces and wound in winches that are connected successively to the axes of motor generators. The aircraft during generation stage is driven in a manner that allows it to generate a lift force as a result of traction force that is on the ropes which cause the rotation of electrical generators (Cherubini et al., 2015).
Crosswind flight with circular that are referred to as eight-shaped paths is mostly applied during the generation phase. In non-crosswind flight, aircraft is in a motionless position in the sky and the mode causes a strong and clear wind on aircraft that results in increased pulling force that acts on the rope. During the recovery stage, motors wind back the ropes and hence bring the aircraft to its initial position from the ground level. The net energy that is generated in the generation stage is supposed to be more than the power ought to be spent during the recovery stage in order to achieve a positive balance. The balancing of both phases is guaranteed by a control system that is meant to make adjustments on aerodynamic features of the aircraft while controlling its flight path in a manner that would enable maximization in production of energy during the generation phase and minimization of the consumed energy in the recovery stage (Cherubini et al., 2015).
Canadian support programs for wind energy systems
Canadian government has played a significant role at the current times when the demand for the clean energy has increased globally by providing funds to its citizens with the main objective of creation and maintaining clean and renewable energy. Canadian government has implemented policies and incentives that would encourage and help in achieving a goal of developing wind power facilities and also encourage the consumers to use wind power as their source of energy. The program that is supported by Canadian government is the Eco-Energy Renewable Power program. The program is targeting to implement over 14 TW hours of energy from clean sources, where the government provides incentives like refunds to providers of energy, tax incentives regarding capital cost allowance and credit through the Scientific Research & Experimental Development (SR&ED) program. Another Canadian support program is the Alternative Energy Technologies Program, which offers grants in its effort to assist in the funding of renewable energy projects that are in particular concerned with development of wind power (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011).
The current general alteration in the composition of the renewable energy supply in Canada has been propelled by a string of national and provincial policy actions. The focus on renewable energy in Canada started in 1996 with the publication of a plan for joint action with other stakeholders to hasten the expansion and the commercialization of renewable power technology (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011). Concern relating to climate change was the major driver behind this original blueprint. Subsequent to this blueprint the national government held an array of discussions and in 1999 issued numerous Issue Tables that explained ways to trim down greenhouse gas emanations. These Tables explained majority of the programs that were implemented in 2000 (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011). This primary set of federal policies lasted through 2006 to 2007 and at this point a second generation of national government guidelines took effect. Provincial governments started to implement new renewable energy guidelines beginning in around 2004.
The national government concentrated on creating policies that would kindle the renewable energy industry throughout the first stage of renewable energy plan. Programs like the Renewable Energy Development Initiative (REDI), concentrated on smaller scale as well as renewable heat initiatives (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011). The Wind Power Production Incentive (WPPI) is also another program that dealt with encouraging production of wind energy from big facilities. Introduction of Tax incentives meant to further encourage renewable power capacity and the capital fund was established to fund private division research and growth activities. Lastly, a state procurement program concentrated on developing a secure market for renewable energy makers. This program committed the state to meeting 20 % of its energy requirements from renewable energy sources. It was anticipated to result in 150 MW of fresh wind generation capacity via a purchase of 400,000 MWh every year (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011).
The federal government also created the Renewable Energy Deployment Initiative (REDI) in and this was a 9-year, $51 million plan designed to kindle the demand for renewable energy schemes for water heating and for industrial purposes. Through REDI, Natural Resources Canada (NRCan) assumed market development activities and offered an incentive to persuade the private sector, national departments and public organizations to obtain experience with active solar and efficient wind energy systems. Conglomerates were entitled for a refund of 25% of the purchase, fixing and other expenses of a qualifying system (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011). In far-flung communities, companies, institutions and other groups were entitled for a refund of 40% of the purchase and fixing of a qualifying system, up to an upper limit reimbursement of $80,000.
Under Wind Power Production Incentive (WPPI), the Canadian administration aimed to afford monetary support for the setting up of 1000 MW of fresh wind energy capacity in the country over 5 years. The producers of wind power at first obtained a monetary incentive of 1.2 cents for each kilo-watt-hour created during the initial 10 years of production of their fresh wind farms. The incentive disbursement wet down to CAN$ 0.010 for each kWh for projects started between April 2003 and March 2006, and then to CAN$ 0.008 for every kWh for wind farms that commenced operating during the final year of the initiative (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011). The program reserved the lowest capacity of 10 megawatt for every province and 1 megawatt for each of Canada’s three northern regions. To avoid the likelihood that hasty take-up in some provinces would lessen opportunities in others, an upper limit of 300 megawatt of qualifying capacity in each province has also been allocated. The smallest size for projects was 500 kilowatt unless the project was situated in Northern regions, in which case the smallest project size was 20 kilowatt. The program ended up supporting 924 MW of wind energy but all existing projects will go on to receiving their imbursements for the rest of their 10 year incentive episode.
The Tax Act allows citizens an accelerated write-off of specific equipment meant to produce energy in a more proficient manner or to produce energy from different renewable power sources. Another type of fully tax deductible expenditure is the Canadian Renewable and Conservation Expenses related with the start-up of renewable energy and power conservation programs. Examples of the startup costs would be probability studies or resource evaluations (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011).
A non-profit foundation called Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC) funds and supports the expansion and demonstration of green technologies which present solutions to issues relating to climate change, uncontaminated air, water and soil quality, and which deliver economic, ecological and health gains to Canadians. SDTC controls a $550-million finance to stimulate the growth of new ecological technologies, mainly those focused on reducing gas emissions. This program relies upon the formation of creative and economically sound affiliations from the private sector, nonprofit organizations and national and territorial governments. Normally, SDTC finances up to 33 % of qualified projects (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011). SDTC was instituted by the Canadian administration in 2001 and started operation in November the same year, with the initial round of financing announced in August 2002. Almost 20% of SDTC’s activities are connected with energy production.
The second phase of federal programs for renewable energy started in 2007. Majority of these substituted and expanded upon the primary set of policies like the wind production program and the Renewable Energy Deployment program. The eco-Energy for Renewable Power program presents an incentive of one cent per KW hour for up to 10 years to qualified projects that produce clean power from renewable sources. These sources may incorporate wind, biomass, geothermal, tidal and wave technologies (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011). This program substitutes the WPPI, but enlarges the set of technologies appropriate for incentive imbursements. Eco-ENERGY for Renewable energy provides $36 million more than four years thereby increasing the adoption of clean renewable wind technologies industrial purposes. The funds are provided for three program activities which include a reimbursement for the installation of wind energy technologies in the industrial and institutional sectors, support for steering projects with community energy suppliers to test approaches to organize wind energy in the residential sector and connect with industry to generate new initiatives in the wind energy.
The eco-Trust Program was established at the beginning of 2007 and through this program, the central government finances the provinces based on suggestions and negotiations among the federal government and the provinces. The financing covers an extensive array of project, incorporating energy efficiency as well as renewable energy projects. All are meant to trim down emissions of greenhouse emissions. This program presents a wide scale of latitude to the territories to determine program elements (Delucchi, & Jacobson, 2011).
Hindrances in the Acceptance of Wind Energy Technology
Renewable energy technologies have a huge potential worldwide that can be realized by incurring reasonable costs. Various markets research has indicated that customers are willing to buy renewable energy irrespective of the differences in the prices level when compared with conventional power. There are various hindrances to the acceptance of wind energy technology as one of the renewable energy which has played a significant role in limiting development of renewable energy (Sovacool, 2009).
Commercialization barrier arises as a result of completion that new technology faces when competing with earlier technologies. For instance, to compete for the acceptance of nuclear technologies and mature fossil fuel, wind energy technology is ought to overcome main barriers to commercialization. The barriers include under developed infrastructures and lack of economies of scale. Developing wind technology would require huge initial investments that would be used in building infrastructures. The high investment cost would hence increase the cost that would be incurred to provide wind energy (Sovacool, 2009).
Market Failure to Value Public Benefits of Renewable Wind Energy
Economists describe many of the benefits that accrue from using renewable energies like the wind as public goods that helps every member of the society. For instance, wind energy would reduce the levels of pollution in the environment and as a result benefits all the public at large. Public goods do not motivate every person who benefits from them to pay an extra cost especially individuals who opt to benefits from other people’s contributions (Sovacool, 2009).
Lack of Information
In most cases, due to lack of enough civic education, customers end up making uninformed decisions due to lack of sufficient information. Most utilities do not provide information, or if they do, they tend to provide very minimal details concerning the fuels they use or their emissions. The fact that wind energy technology is relatively new in the market, majority group of customers lacks adequate information about it and they may tend to believe that the energy is unreliable since it depends on the wind. As a result, they could tend to think that the energy can only operate when the wind is blowing and hence end up hindering its acceptability (Sovacool, 2009). In brief, the ordinary people do not have the same perception on wind energy technology matters as energy specialist do. With regard to the development of wind energy technology, future work is required to give people comprehensive knowledge regarding the significance of using existing wind energy technology and all variables connected with social acceptability of wind energy should be considered. Members of public must be allowed to learn more on the benefits of using wind energy technology.
Small Size of Wind Energy
The small sizes of wind energy companies contribute to a great extent in its acceptability level in the market. The small size projects tend to incur high costs of transactions at different phases of their development cycle. High transaction cost result to the companies charging high prices to the customers who will opt for the conventional technologies and hence hindering the acceptance of wind energy (Sovacool, 2009).
High Financing Costs
The wind energy developers and customers may incur great challenges when obtaining finances and they end up being changed high finance costs than conventional energy facilities. Financial institutions perceive new renewable technology as a risky venture and are also unfamiliar with them and as a result, they end up lending them money at high rates. The high financing costs play a significant role in the competitive position of renewable energy since it will contribute significantly to the huge initial investment costs incurred. This would be reflected in the price of the wind energy technology which would cause customers to opt for the less expensive conventional energy thus hindering the acceptance of wind energy technology (Sovacool, 2009).
Cherubini, A., Papini, A., Vertechy, R., & Fontana, M. (2015). Airborne Wind Energy Systems: A review of the technologies. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 51, pp. 1461-1476.
Delucchi, M. A., & Jacobson, M. Z. (2011). Providing all global energy with wind, water, and solar power, Part II: Reliability, system and transmission costs, and policies. Energy Policy, 39(3), pp. 1170-1190.
Sovacool, B. K. (2009). Rejecting renewables: The socio-technical impediments to renewable electricity in the United States. Energy Policy, 37(11), pp. 4500-4513.