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Pros and Cons of Wind Energy

Updated on April 29, 2009

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.


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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      doing science report this helped

    • profile image


      6 years ago


    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Hi Jennifer

      Im writing a essay in my geography class about wind energy and this site really helped, thanks alot !!


    • profile image

      Sara Jane 

      7 years ago

      this is really great imformation for a project that is the pros and cons about it.

    • profile image

      Gina Kingston 

      7 years ago

      this is awesome

    • profile image

      rick fart ham 

      7 years ago

      i think wind energy is cool

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      7 years ago from Northern Germany

      Rick Conrad made a good explanation on the physics of wind turbine function.

      I have some figures on energy cost for modern onshore and offshore wind turbines (2,5 MW onshore, 3,5 to 6 MW offshore), when treating wind turbines to be a sound business case:

      Onshore: 0,08 Euro/kWh

      Offshore: 0,11 Euro/kWh

      That is some 2 to 3 times the market price for fossile or nuclear energy production. In Europe this gap (green to market) is closed by subsidies.

      Just wait a few years and technical development in wind turbines will bring energy production price down towards fossile market level. Then no more subsidies.

    • rainmist profile image


      7 years ago from Las Vegas

      wind energy is a huge energy,and it's clear

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Here’s more cons. You will need to get your local government to approve any area before you can build a wind turbine. Another cons is that your land or home value may be affected.

    • profile image

      Rick Conrad 

      7 years ago

      Wind Power Conversion

      The amount of power in the wind varies greatly as the speed of the wind increases or decreases. Wind speed is extremely important for the amount of energy a wind turbine can convert to electricity: The energy content of the wind varies with the cube (the third power) of the average wind speed, e.g. if the wind speed is twice as high it contains 2 x 2 x 2 = eight times as much energy.

      A given wind turbine has a "design point" that generally defines its peak efficiency at the wind speed for which the system is designed. At wind speeds above and below the design speed the efficiency is the same or less - maybe much less. If a turbine's best efficiency is 40% at a wind velocity of 20 mph, it will be 40% only at that wind speed. At all other wind speeds it will be something worse. That wind turbine will generally operate at lower than its best efficiency, because wind speeds are never constant or average.

      The electric power actually produced will be still lower because the generator efficiencies are also less than 100% (generally in the mid- or low-90's at best), and there are further losses in the conversion electronics and lines. When all these losses are figured in, you might, if you are lucky, be getting 35% or so of the wind's energy actually delivered as useful electrical energy to the end user in the very best conditions. The average might only be in the twenties or lower depending on the wind.

      The best case scenario.

      1) A modern wind turbine has a maximum capacity of around 2000 kilowatts (kW) or 2 Megawatts (MW)

      2) There are 8760 hours in a year (365 days x 24 hours)

      3) A 2 MW wind turbine will generate around 30% of its maximum theoretical capacity resulting in 5256 Megawatt hours (MWh) per year if the wind speeds that year closely match the design point speeds.

      4) The amount of money that a 2 MW wind turbine will generate each year will depend upon the Purchase Power Agreement that you are able to obtain. I believe at best you will get 3.7 cents a kilowatt hour. That would mean revenues per 2 MW installed of $194472 dollars per year. You would have to get almost 7 cents a kilowatt hour just to get revenues sufficient to pay back the initial investment in ten years without interest.

      Presently wind turbines of the 2 MW capacity range cost $3 million to $3.5 million dollars each.

    • HeidiWilliums profile image


      7 years ago from Germany

      I thought your article was very informative.

    • CWanamaker profile image


      7 years ago from Arizona

      Someday people will have to get over their NIMBY mentality. Personally, I like the way that wind turbines look, but I guess I am not everyone. Poor birds too.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      Christine Mulberry 

      7 years ago

      I live near some wind turbines and I would say they are actually very quiet. Nice overview of the pros and cons of wind energy, like you I say the positives definitely outweigh any negatives.

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      7 years ago from Northern Germany

      Wind energy (same as solar energy) is valuable primary (non thermal) energy with on big flaw: it can´t be stored. Hydro dams however do store energy. That is the reason why hydro-electric energy generation is cut back during strong wind periods.

      Currently for the US this is no real issue. Green energy is not in the focus yet.

      So let me tell you a little story about what happens if wind energy is installed on a massive scale with no storable additional energy source available.

      The West European Power Net is relying on base load power plants (very few hydrodams, many nuclear or coal power plants). Wind power is installed with a share of some 20 to 30% of total installed power. Wind power reaches only an average of 10 to 15% of its peak power output, thus contributing only 4% to the energy production.

      In 2010 on the Electric Power exchange in Leipzig, Germany occurred a few incidents with negative power pricing. How did that happen and what does it mean:

      In all those incidents the power output of the coastal wind turbines jumped to its peak power output (strong winds)within a very short period of time. That excess power equiveled to some 4 to 5 nuclear power plants. But those power plants could not shut down fast enough, and the power could not be distributet into the local web and was offered like hot cake on the energy market. Nobody needed it and finally some customer was payed for taking the electricity. That is what a negative price is.

      Nuclear power is not clean, however it is much cleaner than burning fossile ressources. Of couse you have to dispose of old power plants, but this is something happening to any power plant, so lets just treat this as neutral. Besides that windpower is playing in a different league when talking about clean energy.

    • profile image

      Jim Morrison (Yakima  

      7 years ago

      One of the main issues not covered here, is the consistency of wind power. It only operates effectively about 25% of the time, and when it's operating during low energy use periods, the hydro dams up here in the Northwest are reduced. Does it make sense to reduce one clean power for another? Not to mention the operating and maintenance costs. Notice the term clean power versus green. There is always another side to any story and our emphasis should be to find a way to combine all of our power grids(smart grids) in order to take advantage of excess power (solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, better technology) when we find it.

      There is an area of power generation that does not get its fair share of publicity (solar thermal) and costs far less than photovoltaics for an equivalent amount of power. Until Pv systems become cost effective for non subsidized installation, it too, is not as effective(unless we adopt better conservation and education programs) as it could be. We need to get away from the term "green" because so many firms are fudging on the way to declare their status just because they saved a few gallons of gasoline. Just as we see the Toyota Prius as an energy efficient form of transportation, research the life cycle cost of Nickel production, transportation costs, and a disposal path not yet determined for the batteries and you will find we are only celebrating the finished product.

      Please investigate all claims from any source of "green" comments until you are personally satisfied it comes from environmental conscientious platform or just another marketing strategy for non effective products.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      YoU aRe a VerY gOod WriTer aNd YoU mAdE My DaY wIth YouR AweSomENes!!!!!:)

    • sir slave profile image

      sir slave 

      7 years ago from Trinity county CA.

      Nuclear is not clean, what about all the waste!! you got a few knuckle heads here who dont really know much about our energy policy or how murderous it is!

      Ill take wind and solar over the wars!! and nukular waste.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i like this article

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Let me first state that I support Nuclear Power 100%. What I am confused about is this article states that wind energy is the cleanest energy we have.. I beg to differ. I wonder what they do with the blades and generators that are old and rusted don't they go to waste? I say yes. And another thing to mention have you been to California out by Palm Springs area Windmills are hideous! All I want to say to people who are all Yip-a-dee-doo-doh about wind energy is please research the possibilities of Nuclear energy it really is the Cleanest, Safest, Cheapest energy source.

    • lumarie profile image


      8 years ago from Puerto Rico

      Very interesting. A few of my hubs have to do with natural gas. Check them out.

    • RoseGardenAdvice profile image


      8 years ago from San Francisco

      Wind energy is definitely the better option but due to urbanization and the lack of open spaces, it is difficult to plant windmills everywhere. I too have seen them at a distance and yeah, they looked fine to me too. Only after reading your hub, I know that they make an awful noise too. But thats just a small price to pay if you ask me if we can generate a natural source of energy. Of course, we need to make it safe to keep birds from flying into it. Thanks for the nice hub. Very useful info - enjoyed reading it.

    • profile image

      spencer james 

      8 years ago

      please i need some good information about this wind turbine power generator. this is a goooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooood site. i love u guzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Solar is the third largest producer of TOXIC waste in the USA, now we are shipping the building of these pollution solutions to ASIA and spreading the love over there. If we would allow city sky scrapers to have wind mills they would be high enough, they would circumvent the leaky power grid and they would solve a much larger purpose in our society, OH and they would help keep the pigeon population under control...the driving force behind all of our bridges rotting out where pigeon fecal matter breaks down metals. The wind mill noise would help white out all the tire brushing going down the roads and finally, the cities would have a tax revenue source other than small businesses, attracting more business to the city due to lower taxes hence driving up more tax revenue over-all.

    • 4FoodSafety profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      8 years ago from Fontana, WI

      Am I the only one who finds our wind energy ugly? I love wind energy because I love the environment but is there anything good looking which still gets the job done? I miss the wind mills of romantic Holland.

    • profile image

      Bob Joe 

      8 years ago

      This is very helpful for my project.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Wind power is used in newburyport mass and the thing is giant

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      thank you sooooooo much it this helped me so much it made my project 10x easier

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Sorry fof being so crazy!! butt i suck in sience and you gave me an A*!!!!I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      GREAT INFO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thanks to you i bgot an A* on my whole sience grade! And i such inthat class!i love you!!!!! (i am 11, i am a girl by the way)Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!:);):)

    • profile image

      (sorry no name) 

      8 years ago

      i flet like i was on your facebook page and reading about your life then about wind energy!?i am 11, no hurt feelings i hope:);):)

    • American Romance profile image

      American Romance 

      8 years ago from America

      I worked for a machine shop that rebuilds the motors on these wind mills, they began going out at great cost within the first year of installation in West Texas, they are installed all accross a wonderful ridge outside of Mcamey Texas and have ruined the site of that old western little mountain range. They cannot produce enough energy for squat and take many years to come close to recouping the investment. OIL OIL OIL folks, theres plenty there and everyone loves seeing a pumpjack milking in the wind!

    • profile image


      8 years ago



    • profile image


      8 years ago

      This is amazing info!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      the information is very good

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      I like this!

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      good information!

    • shazz01109 profile image


      9 years ago from Western Massachusetts

      Hi Jennifer,

      I was just made aware of this article. Great info. Being from the Midwest myself, I'm a huge supporter of it. I'm glad I found this article.


    • Mugwump profile image


      9 years ago

      Large wind turbine farms present the same problems that other forms of energy do except for the carbon. Small wind and small solar are the answer, in my opinion. We are paying for these farms in tax credits and then paying again for the energy. Wouldn't it make much more sense for every house in the use to create 150-300kw per month of renewable energy and supplement that with other sources from the power companies?

    • M.L. Zupan profile image

      M.L. Zupan 

      9 years ago from Oklahoma City, OK

      Jennifer, I appreciate your article - good information. I am all for wind energy as one of the contributors to our energy needs. I do not support T. Boone Pickens wind plan because I have calculated his numbers and they seem to be off or misleading. He is a brilliant man but I think he has his own agenda.

      I have researched the amount of energy that we in the United States use and how much energy each wind turbine creates. Each N90 & N100 wind turbine will create 2.5 Mw of energy. At that rate we will need 80,000 new wind turbines across the United States to achieve 20% of our current needs. It is not an impossible task - but those are the numbers. Now all we would need if for 10% solar energy, 10% of the energy to be conserved by people using less, and 20% increase in biofuel production and we will have a significant bite out of the oil we purchase from foreign countries. Plus,if we increase our output from the Bakken Shale discovery we would surpass all of our needs from imports. Then we could concentrate on discovering ways to create a greater surplus of energy and export more products than we import.

    • profile image

      Tom Gray 

      9 years ago

      Wind turbines are not especially loud. You can stand at the base of one and carry on a conversation with someone in a normal tone of voice. Suggest anyone concerned about sound visit an operating wind farm and see for themselves. Regards, Tom Gray, American Wind Energy Association

    • profile image 

      9 years ago from HEARTLAND

      More great info! THANK YOU!


    • braudboy profile image


      9 years ago from Long Beach, MS

      Wind is a very outdated source of energy. It was great for CHristopher Columbus and others from hundereds of years ago. Man has advanced way past the practical use of wind as a source of energy on a large scale. It would be impractical and virtually impossible to convert the massive energy requirements of today's society to wind, not to mention we would be going backwards in effiiciency and affordability. A much wiser move would be to perfect our technoligies in burning coal and to develop the very effective "nuclear" energies.

    • MoniqueAttinger profile image


      9 years ago from Georgetown, ON

      Actually, you can get "micro" wind turbines which do not need high wind speeds to generate electricity and are relatively low cost. As Paper Moon says, they have a vertical axis for the turbine rather than a horizontal one (liek most of the large wind turbines). While microturbines not recommended for the rooftop of a house (they won't install over human living quarters), these can be installed on a garage or other outbuilding that can support about 400 pounds. I think generating energy ourselves with small, eco-friendly methods (like micro wind turbines) could be a very easy and smart way to move forward with better options.

    • profile image


      9 years ago

      this website is the best i was doing my homework and it was really easy after reading this page

    • LondonGirl profile image


      9 years ago from London

      Great hub. I love windtubrines - I think they are beautiful.

    • Paper Moon profile image

      Paper Moon 

      9 years ago from In the clouds

      I loved the hub.  My son's school installed a "Mariah Windspire" last November.  It is the first one in the Midwest.  The design may help with the "Bird" issue, but there is still a noise issue.  They are also reasonably affordable comparatively.  I think it was just under $10,000 with installation and hook-up.  The Windspire captures breezes at 30 feet and below with a design in which blades run up a pole's length and spin around it. Contoured airfoils make the Windspire the first vertical-axis turbine that can start in slow winds without help from a motor or inefficient scoops or wings.

    • JerseyGirl profile image


      9 years ago from Jersey Shore

      Great Hub, Jenn.

      I think that we need to re-consider and possibly even re-invent our future. With Wind Energy - that may help our future.

      Sure, looking beyond the crazy and ugly wind towers; and a step beyond our true commitment to our Green Earth - I'm not sure where to go.

      Again, great hub. Thanks for publishing.

    • artrush73 profile image


      9 years ago

      Nice info!

    • Nemingha profile image


      9 years ago

      As a nation, the United States has a very poor record on issues related to caring for the environment and preserving the earth's resources for future generations. It isn't that their aren't individuals who have very deep concerns and are doing their best to change things, it's more that the powers-that-be seem to think that Americans in general are a very selfish lot who want what they want no matter what the cost to the rest of the world. Keep on writing Jennifer, these are very important issues and should be taken seriously by everybody.

    • thelesleyshow profile image


      9 years ago from US

      Terrific hub. Great content information. Easily rated a thumbs up!

    • Eaglekiwi profile image


      9 years ago from -Oceania

      Yes they have wind farms in New Zealand ,though I understand its a trial experiment .

      Noise is bearable because of its isolation and should be better in the long run for the environment.

      Great hub ,thankyou

    • profile image

      issues veritas 

      9 years ago

      Polluted energy would grey the skies so you wouldn't see the clean solar and wind energy generators. Although, you would still hear the wind generators. But anyone, that has been in the desert knows that wind itself makes an irritating noise.


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