Bhutan boasts not only abundant solar and hydropower resources but also promising wind energy potential. With dedicated efforts and innovative techniques, despite its challenging mountainous terrain, the country can tap into its rich solar and wind resources across various regions. According to the Renewable Energy Management Master Plan (2016), Bhutan has the technical capacity to produce 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar energy and 760 megawatts (MW) of wind energy. Wind turbines operate on a straightforward principle: instead of using electricity to create wind like a fan, they utilize wind to generate electricity. As the wind turns the propeller-like blades of a turbine around a rotor, it sets in motion a generator, ultimately producing electricity. In essence, wind turbines harness wind energy and convert it into electricity using the aerodynamic force generated by the rotor blades, which function similarly to airplane wings or helicopter rotor blades.
Wind energy, also known as wind power, involves the process of utilizing wind to generate electricity. Wind turbines transform the kinetic energy present in the wind into mechanical power, which can subsequently be converted into electricity through a generator. Additionally, mechanical power can be directly employed for specific applications, such as water pumping.
China currently leads the world in wind energy usage, contributing to one-third of global wind energy generation. Notably, China hosts the world’s largest onshore wind farm, situated in Gansu Province. The history of wind power technology dates back centuries, with windmills traditionally employed for tasks like water pumping and grain grinding. Today, modern wind turbines have replaced traditional windmills, efficiently harnessing wind energy to generate electricity. Wind energy, or wind power, is the process by which wind’s kinetic energy is converted into mechanical power, subsequently transformed into electricity via a generator. This electricity can then be directly used for various purposes, including water pumping.
Wind technicians play a crucial role in the wind energy sector, responsible for installing, inspecting, maintaining, operating, and repairing wind turbines. While some technicians are involved in building new turbines, the majority of their work revolves around the maintenance, troubleshooting, and repair of existing turbines, particularly the nacelles housing the electricity generation equipment. However, it is essential to acknowledge some disadvantages associated with wind energy:
- Inconsistent wind patterns
- High upfront capital investment for wind turbine installation
- Visual impact on landscapes
- Potential impact on local bird populations
- Noise disturbances caused by wind turbines
- Requirement of significant land for installation
When wind power enhances a system through mechanical energy conversion, it may be referred to as a windmill, wind pump, or wind charger. Wind energy can serve a wide range of purposes, from powering boats and charging batteries to providing electricity for commercial use, such as water pumping.
Wind energy is a free and renewable source of power, historically used for activities like grain grinding, ship propulsion, and water pumping. It is generated through the uneven heating of the Earth’s surface by the sun. China, as mentioned earlier, currently leads in global wind energy utilization, with a third of the world’s wind energy production. The world’s largest onshore wind farm can be found in Gansu Province, China. Therefore, the Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment (MoICE) in collaboration with the Royal Civil Service Commission (RCSC) should consider adopting wind energy technology from China by sending technicians for training in these specialized techniques. This endeavour presents several advantages:
- Cost-effectiveness of wind power
- Job creation in the wind energy sector
- Promotion of industrial growth and increased competitiveness
- Utilization of a clean and sustainable energy source
- Reduction in dependence on foreign energy sources
- Contribution to environmental sustainability
Wind turbines can be constructed on existing farms or ranches, and there are three major categories of wind energy:
Utility-Scale Wind: These wind turbines range from 100 kilowatts to several megawatts, supplying electricity to the grid and end-users through electric utilities or power operators.
The significance of wind energy in human life cannot be understated. Wind represents a renewable energy source that has a lower environmental impact compared to many other energy sources. Wind turbines can potentially reduce electricity generation from fossil fuels, leading to reduced air pollution and carbon dioxide emissions. Therefore, the National Environment Commission (NEC) should actively support research efforts in wind energy technology for Bhutan, a nation committed to Gross National Happiness (GNH). Wind is primarily caused by the sun’s uneven heating of the atmosphere, variations in the Earth’s surface, and the Earth’s rotation. Factors like mountains, bodies of water, and vegetation also influence wind patterns. Wind turbines play a pivotal role in converting wind energy into electricity by rotating blade-like structures around a central rotor.