One of the most rapidly expanding sources of renewable energy worldwide is wind energy. That shouldn’t come as a surprise considering that humans have been utilising the power of the wind since the beginning of time. It wasn’t until the early 20th century, with the introduction of wind generators with turbines, that it began to resemble the technology we know today. Despite its advantages, this power source doesn’t receive much attention. This is probably due to the fact that the technology is less frequently used for personal purposes and remains hidden, far from areas with dense populations. By outlining the benefits and drawbacks of wind energy, we can hopefully alter that perception. Let’s begin.
Benefits of wind power
We like to start with the good news as usual. Here are a few of the main benefits of wind energy:
A source of energy free of carbon is wind power. It doesn’t produce any greenhouse gases or other pollutants while in use, and it doesn’t need coal or other fossil fuels to turn into electricity. Along with helping the environment, this also reduces population health problems and supports agriculture—and not just local agriculture. Pollutants that are released into the atmosphere have a long range. Along with causing problems for the heart and lungs of living things, this can also block sunlight and release hazardous chemicals into the soil (think acid rain), which will effectively kill off plants.
Renewable energy source
The early civilizations have known and valued the wind as an endless source of energy for millennia. Additionally, it fuels wind turbines, whose rotation produces electricity, just as it did for the ship’s sails. Therefore, we could theoretically rely on the wind forever unless a catastrophe of catastrophic proportions occurs. That is crucial. According to researchers, our oil reserves will be depleted by 2052 unless we discover new ones. Researchers predict that we will run out of coal sources in 2008 and gas reserves in 2060.
Although it depends on the nation, wind energy continues to be the least expensive type of energy. For instance, after taxes, applicable credits, and benefits, researchers calculate that it only costs 1 to 2 cents per kWh in the United States. Moreover, unlike coal or fossil fuels, which are subject to market fluctuations, wind farms typically enter into long-term contracts with fixed prices. Last but not least, the fuel itself is free, and turbines are constantly being improved to have fewer moving parts. As a result, engineering and maintenance expenses are reduced.
The circumference of a wind turbine’s rotating blades is its widest part, and it is elevated above or below sea level. Wind turbines are incredibly tall, almost to the point of being an eyesore. The ground space is still open because they are typically located offshore or onshore but in rural areas, leaving it free for tiny homes, stables, farming fields, or pastures. You now understand the importance of them being emission- and pollution-free. Boats can still pass beneath submerged turbine foundations without being obstructed.
increases the economy and creates jobs
We proved that the location and weather affect wind farms. As a result, some nations are better suited to producing electricity. This frequently occurs in areas that are underdeveloped, where there is a lot of flat, empty land or where there are sizable, underutilised bodies of water. This encourages investment from nations with greater resources but much lower potential or efficiency for using wind energy. In addition to generating new jobs in engineering, construction, and maintenance, owners of wind farms have the option of selling extra electricity to the grid.
Unsurprisingly, wind turbines have the ability to scale down rather than up. For power generation on off-grid vehicles like boats, camper trailers, or caravans, smaller wind turbines are already in use. They are utilised in some cities for low-power sources like traffic warning signs. Finally, they may be used in remote homes as a solar energy substitute.
The drawbacks of wind power
The coin always has two sides. Let’s look at the drawbacks of wind energy.
Unreliable energy source
Not only is inconsistent energy production one of the main drawbacks of solar energy, but it is also one of the main disadvantages of wind energy. Wind turbines are still unpredictable and dependent on the weather, the time of year, and the location, even though technological advances have increased their efficiency.
Emissions of greenhouse gases
Although the process of producing wind energy is emission-free, getting there is not. The majority of the components or items used in turbines, electric wires, steel cables, and foundations are still produced in factories that rely on coal or other fossil fuels. Additionally, the infrastructure and vehicles required for transporting the workforce and tools to the site unquestionably increase the carbon footprint.
Very little land surface
Wind turbines must be spaced apart even though they are small once installed. Additionally, they need to be arranged and rotated to produce the most electricity possible. This makes placement even more difficult and disqualifies some types of land. The issue is not as severe as solar farms. However, compared to nuclear power plants, wind farms continue to take up a lot of space.
Transmission lines are necessary
It remains impossible to transfer energy without incurring losses. However, we must create a cost-effective transmission grid between energy producers (wind farms) and consumers (anything that uses energy). This is a difficult task because wind farms are often hundreds of miles away from consumers. According to researchers, urbanisation could partially resolve this issue. We can all relocate to megacities, erect enormous wind farms outside of them, and link them with highly efficient transmission lines.
If wind turbines are to produce energy at their highest potential, they cannot be physically obstructed. Therefore, the country or landowner must decide which is more important if the weather is ideal but the area is heavily forested. Human greed then enters the picture. As a result, thousands or even hundreds of trees are felled.
Threat to wildlife
You could have anticipated this. Numerous animals and plants lose their natural habitat when forests are destroyed. Animals can migrate, for sure, but rare plant species frequently go extinct. Another issue is the moving component, at least for the aerial creatures. Numerous animals, including birds, bats, and insects, perish when they run into wind turbine blades.