Recent windy weather in the UK has thrust usually quiet (in every sense) wind turbines into the limelight for all the wrong reasons. As the amount of resistance to their existence due to the blot on the landscape some feel they create appears to be dying down, they are suddenly making headlines for bursting into flames and being switched off because of the noise they are creating at high rotation speeds.
The turbine that spectacularly caught fire was apparently locked at the time due to worries that the National Grid would not be able to cope with the surge of nature’s own energy made possible by such high winds! Other turbines were shut down or had their speeds reduced in response to complaints from residents living up to three miles away about the humming sound emanating from them when in use.
Wind, wave, solar and other renewable energy sources clearly represent the way forward for energy production though it seems there are still plenty of issues to be addressed to make best use of the technology. Perhaps that this is a good time to remind ourselves that the problem of energy demand needs to be addressed from both ends. Whilst energy creation is what typically grabs the headlines and the plaudits, the electronics components industry is quietly making great progress in significantly reducing the energy consumption and increasing the efficiency of everyday products and systems so that we don’t need as much power. Many different types of components are making a contribution, from LEDs to replace conventional lighting forms to highly efficient ICs that integrate previously separate power hungry functionality into a single low power device.