Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy
There are numerous advantages and disadvantages of wind energy. Wind energy refers to the energy that is extracted from the air flow through the use of sails or wind turbines to produce electrical or mechanical energy. It is the energy that is generated through the conversion of wind currents into a different type of energy through the use of wind turbines. Complex mechanisms that involve earth rotation, sun heat capacity, polar ice caps and oceans cooling effect, gradients of temperature between sea and land as well as the physical effects that obstacles like mountains generate winds.
Wind force is converted by turbines into rotational force or torque. This is then used in propelling electric generators producing electricity. The power stations for this energy are called wind farms and they basically aggregate output from different wind turbines via a central point of connection to an electricity grid. There are both off-shore and on-shore projects of wind energy all over the world.
- Clean source of fuel
Wind energy does not entail air pollution like other power plants that depend on fossil fuels’ combustion such as natural gas and coal. The turbines that are used in the production of wind energy do not produce emissions which lead to greenhouse gases or acid rain. Thus, wind energy is considered pollution-free.
- Domestic energy source
Most places have abundant supply of wind. This means that this energy can be produced and supplied to households reducing dependence on non-renewable energy sources. Generally, wind energy has enormous potential. It is twenty times more than the actual needs of the human population.
- Cost effective
Wind energy is among the lowest-priced renewable forms of energy that are available today. It costs between six and four cents per kilowatt-hour. However, this depends on wind resource as well as project financing in a given project.
- Wind energy is economical for rural areas
It is possible to build wind turbines in the existing ranches or farms. This makes wind energy very economical for rural areas where there are ideal wind sites. Ranchers and farmers can continue their production activities in the ranches or farms since wind turbines will take only a portion of the land.
Provided that the sun is shining and wind blowing, the produced energy is possible to harness and send to the power grid.
Unreliability is the major disadvantage of wind energy. In most areas, the blowing wind is of low strength. This makes it incapable of supporting wind farms or wind turbines. Such places cannot rely on wind energy alone. It has to be supplemented with geothermal, solar or hydro-electric energy.
- Less electricity
Generally, wind turbines produce less electricity when compared to fossil fuels. This means that more turbines are required to ensure that wind energy makes a significant impact where it is relied on.
- Noise pollution
Wind turbines cause noise pollution especially where they are set up for commercial energy production purposes. The noise that they produce is similar to that of the engine of small jets. This noise can be a problem to those who live near the wind turbines. However, it is not a problem to those living away from the turbines because they will not hear the noise.
- High initial investment
Wind power has to compete with the conventional power sources in terms of costs. On the basis of the energetic level of a wind site, a wind farm can either be costly or cost competitive. Although there has been a decrease in the wind power cost over the years, the initial investment cost is higher than that of buying fossil-fueled generators.
The contemporary world should consider different sources of energy. More people, institutions and governments are looking for environmental-friendly energy sources that they can exploit. Considering the merits and demerits of wind energy is important because global warming and other environmental problems could be due to the modern energy-craving lifestyles. Perhaps, exploiting renewable energy sources more can help in dealing with environmental problems.
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