There are various advantages and disadvantages of wind energy, most of which is about to be covered in this article. We would like to have a look at the pros and cons of wind turbines so as to determine whether the disputes surrounding this renewable and clean energy technology is well justified.
The Advantages of Wind Energy
Without a doubt, wind energy has a number of benefits in helping to afford a source of clean and renewable electricity for every country over the world. Hereunder are some facts pertinent to the pro points.
First off, we cannot deny that wind energy s both sustainable and renewable. The wind will never run out, different from fossil fuel reserves, which makes it the ideal source of energy for sustainable power supplies for decades to come. There appears to be no environmental adverse impact caused by wind energy. This type of energy is one of the most eco-friendly sources of energy available these days. After the manufacturing and installation of turbines, there are going to be little or even no pollution generated as the result of wind turbines application. It should be noted that noise and visual pollution are environmental factors, yet they do not have negative impact on the earth, the quality of air, or water table. As wind energy is abundant, the use of fossil fuel will fall dramatically. Producing electricity from wind turbines will reduce the need to burn fossil fuel. Another benefit of wind energy is the fact that wind turbines possess relatively small land footprint. Even though they may tower high above the ground, the effect on land at the base is insignificant.
The other series of benefits obtained from wind energy are pertinent to its cost, in long term. Wind turbines are not only limited to industrial-scale implementation such as wind farms. They also can be installed on domestic scale, with various landowners opting to apply smaller and less powerful turbines so as to provide part of domestic supply of electricity. Domestic wind turbines are commonly coupled with other renewable energy technologies such as geothermal heating system or solar panels. As more and more people op for wind energy, the cost for installing wind turbines will get cheaper. The first ever power-generating wind turbines was produced in 1888. Since then, the turbines have been improved dramatically and these days the system is about to come down in cost, which makes it more accessible. When wind turbines are installed, the maintenance is fond lower than other sources of energy. Government subsidies are helping to decrease the cost of wind turbine installation, with lots of government across the globe providing incentives for both the installation, but also for the long term supply of environmentally friendly power. Wind turbines are pondered to be relatively low maintenance. New wind turbines can be expected to last some time before any maintenance work which needs to be done. Even though older wind turbines may come up against some reliability issues, each generation of wind turbine is important to enhance reliability.
The Disadvantages of Wind Energy
So, we have seen the advantages, now it is time to have a look at the main downside of the energy. Wind energy poses a number of shortcoming.
To start with, we cannot deny that wind does fluctuate all the time. Wind energy has similar downside to solar energy in that it cannot remain constant. Even though wind energy is sustainable and will never cease, the wind is not always blowing. This can cause serious issues for wind developers that will spend significant time as well as money investigating if particular site is appropriate for the generation of wind energy. For wind turbine to be effective and efficient, the location where it is constructed needs to have sufficient supply of wind energy. This is why we oftentimes see wind turbines constructed on top of hills or at coastal areas, where there are less land obstacles to decrease the intensity of wind energy.
Another drawback has something to do with the installation cost. There is no doubt that installation is costly even though costs are reducing all the time. First, site survey will have to be carried out which may include having to construct some sample turbine to fathom wind speeds over significant period of time. If considered adequate, the wind turbine will have to be manufactured, distributed, and constructed on top of pre-constructed foundation. All of these processes significantly contribute to the overall cost of installing wind turbine. When the above is considered for off shore wind farms, the cost will be much greater. It is much more difficult to install wind turbines out at sea than it is constructed on land, and some companies have already commissioned bespoke ships which are capable of installing and transporting wind turbines at sea.
We also need to take into account its threat to wildlife. It has been widely reported that wind turbines pose threat to wildlife, mainly bats and birds. It is believed that the turbines pose less of threat to wildlife than do other manmade structures such as radio towers and cell phone masts. However, wind turbines are known to contribute to high mortality rates among bat and bird populations.
For those who live close to the turbines, it appears that wind turbine generate noise pollution. One of the most popular shortcomings is the noise, even if it is only a single turbine. That can be heard from hundreds of meters away. Combine a number of turbines and the audible impacts will be much greater. Noise pollution from wind turbines has ruined the lives of several house owners. Even though steps are taken quite often to site wind turbines away from housing areas, they sometimes do get constructed too near where people live and that is why new wind farms often come up against sound public objection. The last yet not the least issue with wind energy is the visual pollution. Even though many people actually like the appearance of wind turbines, others do not and consider them as a sort of blot on landscape. This tends to come down to relative opinion, and since more wind farms are constructed, public acceptance is currently becoming commonplace.