Advantages of Wind Energy
Advantages of Wind Power
- Wind is a free resource.
- Wind energy helps avoid a variety of environmental impacts due to its low impact emitting zero greenhouse gas emissions or conventional pollutants and consuming virtually no water.
- Wind energy is a clean, renewable form of energy that uses virtually no water and pumps billions of dollars into our economy every year.
- Wind energy is not effected by drought.
- Wind turbines can be very tall, but each takes up only a small parcel of land. The land around can still be used, especially in agricultural areas, where farming can continue.
- Remote areas, not connected to the electricity power grid, can produce their own supply.
- Wind turbines are available in a range of sizes to meet the needs of a vast range of users, from single households to cities.
Disadvantages of Wind Power
- Because the strength of the wind is not steady, wind turbines do not produce the same amount of electricity at all times. There will be times when they produce no electricity at all.
- Even though wind power is clean, some pollution is produced when wind turbines are being manufactured.
- Large wind farms are needed to provide entire communities with enough electricity.
- Wind turbines are noisy.
- Many people feel that the landscape should left in its natural form for everyone to enjoy, without unsightly large structures being built.
Rising Oil Prices
When I first came to the US in 1997, gas was at $1.20/gallon. In 2004 the cost of oil started to rise quickly, and kept going up, to the point that now we are used to prices that were unimaginable before.
Despite the rising prices, oil is still cheaper than solar and wind energy, and so are fossil fuels in general. As we keep digging deeper to extract petroleum, coal and natural gas, fossil fuels will become harder to get and more expensive to process, reducing the cost gap with renewable resources.
In few decades fossil fuels will not be the cheapest and most efficient way to produce energy.
Most of the world electricity, heating, and transportation are powered by fossil fuels, and the burning of fossil fuels releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, quickening the global warming trend.
Renewable energy sources can provide comparable energy production, without affecting the environment with pollution and they are sustainable in the long term, because there is no risk of running out of resources, they are renewable.
The switch to renewable energy requires a change of energy consumption style. In fact it demands a conservative and efficient use of energy.
What Are Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable energy, by definition, does not deplete the planet resources when used. It's generated harnessing natural resources that are available at a very low cost, or for free. What may create a cost are the equipment and the process required to use those resources.
Typical sources of renewable energy are:
- solar energy
- wind power
- water or hydro-power
- geothermal energy
"Conservation is the quickest, cheapest, most practical source of energy".— Jummy Carter, 1977
Top 5 States by Total Wind Capacity
• In 2016 Oklahoma led the country during the first quarter with 270 MW of wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (154 MW), Utah (62 MW), and New Mexico (32 MW).
• The 154 MW wind farm commissioned in Iowa during the first quarter includes one prototype concrete tower turbine that is now the tallest operating wind turbine in the U.S. at 168 meters, or 554 feet, in height. The turbine has a 115 meter hub height and a 108 meter rotor diameter.
• Guam installed the territory’s first utility scale wind turbine during the first quarter.
• Texas continues to lead the nation with over 17,700 MW of installed capacity.
About Wind Power
Harnessing wind for power goes back to the beginning of humanity, with sailing ships. Throughout history we saw windmills being used for grounding grains and to pump water.
Anyplace where wind blows steadily and strong would be a good option for installing wind power systems.
Wind turbines are mounted on hundreds of feet tall poles, the impact on the landscape often creates some friction between supporters and local communities. Frequently proposals of new wind farms trigger the protests of people leaving nearby, due to the look of them and how they change the landscape.
Home Wind Power Systems
If you live in a area with strong and steady winds, and you own more than an acre of land, you may consider to install a backyard wind turbine.
Things to consider:
While one home system can produce a big amount of energy, unless there is a lot of wind or a very large unit, often it will not provide all the energy needed, but it will help substantially lower the power bill. Also, even the smallest turbine requires an initial investment of thousands of dollars.
When connected to the grid, the power you collect exceeding your needs will funnel into the power grid. In very windy days or at night, when power usage goes down, the meter will run backward and the power company will pay or credit you for the electricity.
Wind Turbine Requirements
- 9 miles/hour average wind speed to power an off grid home.
- 10+ miles/hour average wind speed required to be able to sell back to the power company.
- 1+ acre land needed to install the turbine tower far enough from your home and your neighbors.
- 60+ feet high wind turbines to get the strongest winds and be efficient.
© 2012 Robie Benve