What is the most common source of renewable electricity in the United States today? Hint: the answer may astound you.
Today, dozens of countries are investing in alternative energy sources as climate change becomes a serious enemy. The kinetic energy of wind has become a rapidly expanding renewable source of energy!
Professor James Blyth first harnessed wind energy in the late 1800s, but it wasn’t until after World War II that wind energy became a widely accepted source of clean energy.
Wind energy has since been used to generate electricity worldwide, making renewable energy available in homes, businesses, public buildings, hospitals, and other places.
Wind power currently accounts for 9.2% of total energy production in the United States and has significant room for growth. Considering how to energize our future, considering all attributes of a power source is critical.
Most individuals are acquainted with wind speed power, but do the perks outweigh the expenses associated with its use? The godsends and flaws of using wind power as an energy source are listed below. So, let’s find out!
Table of Contents
- Pros of Wind energy
- Cons of Wind energy
- Summary (wind energy advantages and disadvantages)
Pros of Wind energy
Wind energy is highly beneficial to the environment because it reduces the use of fossil fuels. Here are some important advantages of wind energy.
1. Sustainable And Renewable
The entire concerted effort for wind energy is based on the fact that it is a renewable energy source.
One of the apparent benefits of wind energy is that it occurs in nature, so we do not deplete the resources. As a result, this clean energy source behaves differently than fossil fuels.
Furthermore, the wind is a plentiful renewable resource, allowing it to supply significant power to the electric grid. Although we cannot fulfill wind energy demand, it can still power millions of homes, businesses, and neighborhoods all over the country each year.
Another significant distinction in greenhouse gas emissions renders renewable energy far more appealing than coal, oil, and natural gas.
Renewables like wind energy are clean power sources, in contrast to fossil fuels, the world’s largest producer of hazardous greenhouse gases.
Because turbines do not necessitate fossil fuels to operate, we can generate energy with little to no environmental impact. Wind energy only emits carbon emissions indirectly during the raw material production process and during transportation and installation.
Steel, concrete, fiberglass, and copper, among other materials used to make turbines, emit some greenhouse gas. Wind remains a far superior alternative to fossil fuels such as coal.
3. Free Fuel
So here’s a catch- there is no need for fuel because wind turbines run solely on wind power! Once the setup is installed, the turbine does not need to be bolstered or hooked to a power source.
This also lowers the overall cost of maintaining large-scale wind farms in contrast to other types of renewable energy, which may necessitate some energy investment. Unlike expensive fossil fuels, the wind is free and all over us, whether we use it for power generation.
4. Creates More Jobs
Since wind turbines became economically feasible, the wind energy sector has gone up in flames (not literally!), and the wind energy industry has generated employment worldwide.
Wind turbine production, installation, and support jobs are now available, as are wind energy consulting positions.
We need individuals to operate and configure the structure, resulting in more job opportunities. There are currently 85,000 Americans employed in the wind industry.
As environmentalists continue to advocate for clean energy, there is more room for growth in the field. By 2050, the wind industry is expected to employ 600,000 more people!
5. Low-cost of Energy Harnessing
Although wind turbines are initially expensive to install, the energy they yield is inexpensive. This is due to several factors, one of which is that no turbine fuel is required. Turbines have low operating costs once installed and require little upkeep.
Totaling the initial investment, cost of operations, and preservation over the turbine’s life, wind energy costs around $0.029 per kilowatt hour. The cost of building and operating coal power plants is about $0.036 per kilowatt hour.
A cheap Energy bill or low energy price is one of the best wind energy pros. The energy efficiency of mechanical power provides financial incentives compared to non-renewable energy sources.
6. Growing Technology
Wind energy is not a new source of renewable energy. However, unlike hydropower, it is still in its infancy.
Green energy from wind technology still has much room to expand and evolve. Wind power plants will become more proficient at generating electricity through technological advancements.
Furthermore, once we figure out how to contain this energy accurately and on a massive scale, we can control any variability in production. Enhancing renewable energy storage technology further expands the goal of massive production.
Consequently, scientists are working hard to improve battery and energy retention technology to meet demand. Wind storage setup will enable us to expand the use of wind as an alternative to traditional energy sources.
Cons of Wind energy
While wind energy has many advantages, they also have some disadvantages. Wind turbine blades have higher initial costs and are more erratic. Here are some disadvantages of wind energy to consider.
1. High Upfront Costs
Although they are inexpensive to produce and operate, the configuration process is expensive. The cost associated with the installation of wind turbines is one of the main disadvantages of wind power.
Installing multiple turbines in a single wind farm can affect the initial wind energy costs.
Complex offshore wind turbine projects are only possible if a substantial transmission system links the systems to the principal onshore grid and population centers.
2. Unpredictable Nature of Energy
In wind energy farms, the throughput of the wind is used to generate electricity. As a result, if the velocities are too low, the rotor will not spin.
As a direct consequence, predicting how much electricity the turbine will yield over time can be difficult.
Another disadvantage is that electricity may not be accessible during peak demand periods. This could be a problem if there is a crisis, such as a power outage.
If the weather does not cooperate, you may be without power. Severe storms, lightning strikes, or high winds can damage your wind turbine.
3. Environmental Impact
It necessitates a lot of open space to install wind turbines, and tearing down trees negates the eco-friendly thing humanity is trying to achieve. Also, it may be challenging to access and use locations that are suitable for them.
Compliance with city codes and legislates may be vexing when striving to install a wind turbine. Height restrictions may also prevent you from installing one on your property.
4. Impact On Wildlife
Although wind investments have lower wildlife implications than other energy developments, more research is required to mitigate wind-wildlife interrelations.
The rotors harm bird migration and bat passage because they frequently collide with windmill blades.
Overtures are currently being made to locate the turbines in strategic points outside migratory passageways and other areas where life exists or carries through to prevent harm. Likewise, there are concerns that offshore wind farms will disrupt marine ecology.
5. Visual And Noise Pollution
Let’s face it- wind turbines can be pretty unappealing. The repercussion on the landscape is a hindrance that should not be overlooked when configuring wind turbines.
While many people were initially fascinated by the development of these plants, many people are now disturbed by the glimpse of these frameworks and believe they cause harm.
The shadows cast by wind turbine blades may be bothersome to some neighborhoods. Wind farm designers strive to avoid these concerns by selecting optimal locations where shadow flicker will not be challenging for extended periods.
Wind turbines can be loud and annoying when in operation due to both functioning and the wind vortex generated when the blades rotate. The motion of the blades produces sounds that can be upsetting to both animals and people nearby.
6. Location Limitations
Wind turbines must be placed in an area where they will generate enough electricity to be financially sustainable.
Wind farms are particularly suitable for coastal areas, hilltops, and open planes – in short, wherever there is solid and consistent wind.
Most of these suitable locations are located in remote areas far from cities and towns, in more rural areas, or offshore. Due to the distance, infrastructure investment, such as power lines, must be constructed to hook a wind farm to the power grid.
The setup can be expensive and impact the environment as you might have to chop down trees to lay down power lines.
Summary (wind energy advantages and disadvantages)
|Sustainable And Renewable|
|Creates More Jobs|
|High Upfront Costs|
|Unpredictable Nature of Energy|
|Impact On Wildlife|
|Visual And Noise Pollution|
Renewable energy is the clean and green choice for the global climate, energy conservation, national security, rural economic reinvigoration, and resource preservation.
Wind power can be a core component of that sustainable energy future as
- it is affordable,
- creates jobs,
- generates significant shared revenue, and
- has a low impact on our environment without causing pollution, producing hazardous waste, or depleting natural resources.
It is for sure that using wind energy today will lay the groundwork for a healthier tomorrow. So, for or against wind energy? Or do you think geothermal or solar energy is the better choice of alternate power source?
(Last Updated on October 19, 2022)