Wind power was one of the earliest forms of energy humans utilized. Today, the use of wind turbines is also growing in the Circumpolar North.
A modern wind turbine usually consists of three fibreglass blades mounted on a steel tower. The blades are much stronger and lighter than older conventional ones as they are constructed out of the named fibreglass materials. The whole system is usually automated and very reliable.
Turbines are usually arranged in wind farms consisting of several hundred turbines, each with blades measuring about 15 m, and capable of producing 10–15 kilowatts of electricity (1kW = 0.001MW).
Single units can be used for individual homes, but arrays of units are more efficient in the Arctic where there is plenty of space.
For wind power to be cost-effective, winds should blow fairly steadily at about 16 km per hour. Many areas in the Arctic meet this criterion, and wind power has great promise for those villages that lack large access to fossil fuels.
Wind is free and abundant, and wind power produces no pollutants and no carbon dioxide. However, wind generated energy does also have a number of disadvantages: it is intermittent, making it necessary to have a storage system or alternative source of energy when the wind is not blowing; and wind turbines pose a danger to birds if the turbines are located along migratory routes.
Also, some discussion has taken place about possible disturbance due to vibrations both on land and offshore.