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8 Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy

Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing renewable sources in the world. In 1997, offshore wind energy had a capacity of 7.5 GW. And by 2018, it had a capacity of 564GW.

That’s a growth of 75 or 7500% in the last 20 years!

Let’s take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages associated.

What Is Wind Energy?

Wind energy is a process in which wind is used to generate electricity. This is achieved by the wind pushing a turbine blade around a rotor, which spins a generator. As a result, electricity is generated.

This is similar to how an alternator works in your vehicle.

Advantages of Wind Energy

1. Sustainable

Wind energy only relies on the strength of the wind. Thus, it does not require any type of fuel or resource that can run out or cost money. Wind is actually a form of solar energy because it is caused by the heating of the atmosphere.

Thus, it is truly sustainable.

2. Works In Any Climate

Wind turbine technology has come a long way over the last two decades. These devices will now work in virtually any climate condition. These include the hot Sahara desert or the freezing temperatures in Canada.

The turbines simply need to be made with local conditions in mind. For example, not weatherizing wind turbines can lead them to freeze up.

3. Emission Free

Wind plants do not produce any emissions, air pollution, or any negative by-product. And as the world tries to curb its emissions, the deployment of renewable energy sources will be critical to success.

4. Cost-Effective

Renewable energy prices shrink every year and there’s no sign of it stopping. Wind energy is already more cost-effective than fossil fuels in many regions of the world.

In fact, in two-thirds of the world, it’s cheaper than carbon-based energy generation.

Disadvantages of Wind Energy

1. Reliability

While the wind will never run out, that doesn’t mean it blows consistently. In some cases, the wind may not be strong enough to turn the wind turbine. Thus, reliability becomes a problem.

While this can be mitigated by placing turbines in locations with strong wind, it can fail to generate the expected energy.

2. They Are Loud

One of the most common arguments against wind farms is the sound they produce, and there is an excellent reason for it. Wind turbines can produce sounds over 100 decibels (like a lawnmower).

For this reason, they are not built close to homes.

3. Birds

Unfortunately, one of the major criticisms is the impact on wildlife, specifically birds. Birds fly directly into wind turbines, and they do not survive the event.

While the exact reason is still up for debate, some believe that birds cannot see the turbines. Thus, some turbines are painted black to make them more visible.

However, keep in mind that skyscrapers kill far more birds each year…and they don’t even move.

4. Geography

Wind plants are built in specific locations that can generate strong winds to help with reliability. However, this limits the locations they can be built on the land. And in some areas of the world, the land is too valuable for wind turbines to be built on.

Thus, offshore wind has become extremely popular as the land-based wind is not viable in all locations.

Wind Energy Will Not Stop Growing

Just this year, 70% of all new energy generation in the United States will come from renewable energy sources. Wind energy will continue to grow at a rapid speed for the next decade.

While there are pros and cons of wind energy, it is quite clear that a cheap source of energy that does not release any emissions is extremely important going forward. It has the potential to create thousands of jobs and lower emissions.

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Robert Giaquinto

Robert has been following and writing about environmental stories for years at GreenGeeks. He believes that highlighting environmentally friendly practices can help promote change in every household.

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