Pros and Cons of Wind Energy
Wind energy is one of the cleanest forms of energy available. Air has mass and when it moves it contains kinetic energy. This energy can be used to power just about anything. As with everything though there are pros and cons to wind energy and what has been termed "wind farms".
It is not very practical for a home to install its own wind turbine. There are typically regulations in neighborhoods and wind turbines need to be very high in order to capture the wind best. This means that wind energy is not available to anyone and everyone. Many power companies do use wind energy as one of the sources of energy they supply to their customers. If this is the case, you can request that the energy for your home come from wind energy. Unfortunately it usually costs more.
The United States is actually a leading producer of wind turbines, but how many of those stay in the US is unclear. The potential for wind energy to supply the needs of the United States is huge. If we could get the system set up in all states we would become much less dependent on other countries to supply us with oil. I have read many statistics on this saying that we could supply the country with anywhere from 20% of what we need all the way up to 60% of what we need. Even if it is just 20% of the energy we need, that is a lot. If we can combine it with solar energy, the United States would be well on its way to being a self supporting nation concerning energy. It would be so great to not be dependent on foreign countries for our needs.
Of course there are some drawbacks to wind energy. Wind turbines are very large. While they don't move fast, apparently they are pretty loud. Like I mentioned earlier, they need to be very high in order to capture the wind. Many people think wind turbines are ugly. The wind farms I have seen in Wyoming and Colorado looked fine to me from a distance. They were placed on large farms out on the plains. There really wasn't much around; you couldn't even see the farm house in the distance. In other states though, land isn't as plentiful and wind turbines are popping up on hill tops very close to homes. There are some serious battles going on over wind turbines in some states.
Aside from the noise and how they look (I personally don't mind how they look, but I also don't live under one) there is a risk to birds. The turbine spins relatively slowly; however there are frequently dead birds found underneath the turbines. This is disheartening, as I don't want to see any animal killed so that we can have cleaner energy. I don't know exactly how common this is, but I know it has been an issue in Colorado.
Wind energy plants are very easy to set up compared to other energy plants. There are no hazardous chemicals involved so safety is much better. There is no pollution emitted by wind turbines (in stark comparison to coal plants or nuclear power plants). Wind is a renewable resource meaning it will never run out. If the United States is serious about becoming less dependent on foreign countries to supply what we need then wind energy is a direction we need to be headed in quickly. While there are some drawbacks to wind energy, I do believe that it is a much better source of energy than what the nation currently uses. The advantages definitely outweigh the disadvantages on this one.