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Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy

Wind power - one of the main energy sources of the planet.

Wind power has become lately the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the world (exceeding solar energy) because it offers many more advantages than disadvantages. Let’s what are the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy.

What is Wind Power Today?

Wind power can be generated transforming the kinetic energy of the wind into mechanical energy that spins a turbine to generate clean electricity with the help of generators.

Today, mankind produces wind power using large wind turbines mounted onshore, but also offshore (because the wind is stronger on the sea and there are no people around to be affected by the noise created by the turbines).

Advantages of Wind Energy

As I mentioned before, wind energy is the fastest-growing renewable energy source in the world mostly due to the fact that is very efficient and is not a weather dependent energy source.

1. Wind Energy is a Renewable Energy Source

Along with solar energy, wind power is considered a renewable energy source because the Sun is the source of the wind, and the Sun is considered a continuous source of clean power on our planet (will be here to provide us with heat and light for another 4 to 5 billion years).

Being produced by the Sun by heating the different layers of the atmosphere in an uneven way, the wind is a great source of green power for humanity and will be used to replace the dirty fossil fuels for a cleaner future.

2. Wind Power is a Cost-Effective Energy Source

Onshore utility-scale wind farms are producing one of the cheapest energy on the market today (with a cost between 2 and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour).

The price can drop even more in the future if the wind generation capacity significantly increases on the planet.

3. Wind Energy Creates New Jobs Every Year

Being the fastest-growing clean energy source on the planet, the wind sector produces hundreds of thousands of new jobs every year (only in the U.S. more than 100,000 new workers have been employed last year).

More and more workers will be involved in the development of the wind sector in the U.S. in the future (some will migrate from the fossil fuel sector) because wind energy is a clean energy source that along with solar energy and other renewable energy sources will put an end to the era of the fossil fuels on planet Earth.

4. Wind Power is Free and Reduces the Consumption of Fossil Fuels

The wind on planet Earth is produced by the Sun, which means that wind energy is a source of renewable and clean power because is continuous and produces no harmful emissions.

Being a free source of clean power on our planet, it has the capacity to reduce the consumption of fossil fuels.

A countries where wind power has a high share in the energy mix, will have a low consumption of fossil fuels and a cleaner air.

5. Wind Energy Requires Low Maintenance and Has Low Running Costs

A new wind turbine requires relatively low maintenance service because being new, all its components are reliable and work very well.

However, older wind turbines could have some reliability issues, which will require more attention from the team that ensures the maintenance service.

Wind energy is a free energy source, which means that the wind turbine will have low running costs (maintenance costs are the only costs with the turbine).

6. Wind Power Has a Huge Potential To Replace the Dirty Fossil Fuels

Wind energy represents a renewable and sustainable source of clean power that is available both on land and on the sea on our planet.

Being an energy source that works day and night, wind energy has a great potential to produce huge amounts of clean electricity and replace the dirty fossil fuels if the generation capacity will be developed on a large scale.

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7. Wind Energy Increases Energy Security

In many countries of the planet we already have onshore or offshore wind farms connected to the grid that are sending clean electricity in that country, but also in the neighboring countries.

This means that all countries, which are producing wind power have an increased energy security because they produce so much energy, that they are able to export some of the clean power to their neighbors.

Disadvantages of Wind Energy

Wind energy is an energy source that provides many benefits, but at the same time it has a few disadvantages related to wildlife and some type of pollution.

1. Expensive Upfront Costs

The price of a wind turbine is not cheap, not to mention the installation costs.

Any installation of large wind turbines will require an initial site survey, and the installation of a sample wind turbine that will measure the speed of the wind over a pretty long period of time.

Only if the data obtained by the sample wind turbine will be adequate, the project will receive the green light to continue and the process of manufacturing, transporting and erecting the new turbine will be initiated.

All these processes are required, and are increasing the overall costs of installing the wind turbine.

2. Wind Does Not Represent A Constant Source Of Power

Wind fluctuates, which means that we can’t harness the power of the wind all the time.

From this point of view, wind energy is similar to solar power, but not so dependent on the weather.

Solar works only during the day, and produces the most amount of electricity during the sunny days.

Wind energy does not require sunlight, which means that it can work day and night, but only if there is some wind to blow.

There are wind turbines that are built to work in low speed winds, and there are other types of turbines that require stronger winds.

Wind turbines are usually suited to the wind speeds in the area where they are installed, and if the wind reaches speeds over the capacity of the turbine, there is a safety system installed on the turbine that will block the propeller of the turbine, to protect the wind turbine from being destroyed by the strong winds.

However, even if wind power cannot be produced all the time because it requires certain conditions to work (the wind needs to blow), this type of clean energy source works well along with other sources of green or low-carbon power (natural gas).

3. Wind Power Produces Noise Pollution

There are certain rules to be respected when a new wind turbine will be installed.

The propeller of a large turbine rotates and produces noise, which is quite strong, 105 dB (A) (the equivalent of the noise produced by a lawnmower).

Even at a distance of 500 yards (0.3 miles) from the wind turbine, the noise produced is still at about 38 dB (A), which is the equivalent to the noise produced by a refrigerator.

Wind turbines produce noise pollution, maybe that is the reason why the large wind turbines are usually installed in remote locations (preferably without natural obstacles that can block the wind).

4. Wind Energy Produces Visual Pollution

Many people are familiar with the look of a wind turbine because they know how they work and they understand how useful is this technology for the economy of the country and for a clean air.

However, there are others that consider wind turbines just a blot on the landscape.

5. Wind Power Represents a Threat to Wildlife

It seems that the rotating propellers of the wind turbines are killing birds and bats that are crossing the field of the propeller.

At the same time, wildlife seems to be generally affected by several types of man-made technology such as: radio towers, cell phone masts and aircraft engines, who occasionally encounter flocks of birds flying at high altitudes and that are aspired by the aircraft’s engine, which leads to the death of the birds and the destruction of the engine.

Final conclusion

Wind energy has more advantages than disadvantages today, and with the continuous development of the technology used to harness the power of the wind, I’m sure that many of the above disadvantages will be eliminated, because wind power needs to take its place among the other clean energy sources available on the planet that will help us to get rid of the fossil fuels that are polluting the environment.

Article written by:

I write about the renewable energy sector, electric cars and climate change issues. I love nature and good food, so I travel all over the world to see new places and meet new people. Magda Savin

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