The advantages of wind energy are many, so it should come as no surprise that wind is the fastest growing renewable power resource in our world today. Still, there are signficiant disadvantages of wind power. Do they outweigh the benefits?
Wind a renewable energy source, which means it will not run out like a fossil fuel. There are challenges with wind energy, but research is constantly conducted to determine how the world can best utilize this free, clean, and renewable energy source.
Wind energy is not only advantageous for commercial applications, but for residential homeowners as well. The development of wind energy and wind power farms across the world would only increase our independence from fossil fuels that will eventually be depleted completely.
Despite the numerous advantages of wind energy, there are still many challenges facing those in the wind industry today. Some of the challenges have been overcome, but some still remain.
Energy provided by oil, coal, and gas is still less expensive to generate than wind power currently. The cost involved with erecting wind turbines can be expensive, but once the turbines are operating, the wind is free and the maintenance on the turbines is minimal. The costs associated with wind energy have decreased somewhat over the last decade, but there could still be improvements in this area.
Wind sites worth their weight need to be located in remote, rural, or offshore locations. This is problematic because of the cost and equipment required to transmit the electricity generated by the wind turbines into the populated areas.
Wind turbines and power plants are environmentally friendly, but the turbines are still problematic for a few reasons. Some people say that the turbines are ugly, loud, and tend to disturb radio and television transmissions in some areas. Avian enthusiasts are concerned about the number of birds killed by wind turbines each year.
Land based wind turbines do take up some space. Competition for other uses of the land can be a frustration. There is concern over whether or not the fragile ecological balance of the environment is disturbed when wind turbines are installed.
Offshore locations for wind turbines have been considered in an effort to alleviate the challenge of the land requirement for wind turbines. Of course, there are new challenges associated with positioning turbines in the ocean, but the option is still viable.
Advances in rotor development and design of wind turbines have lessened the noise factor.
Research is also currently underway to figure out how to reduce the visual impact of wind turbines on the surrounding landscape.
Scientists studying the affect of wind turbines on the bird population have discovered that birds do figure out where the turbines are and tend to avoid them for the most part. As long as wind turbines are not erected within a migratory flight pattern or area, the damage done to birds is minimal.
The effect on the ecological balance from wind turbines is temporary, not permanent. When the turbines are installed and operating, the area surrounding the base of the turbines is returned to its natural habitat.
The advances in wind energy continue to emerge and to encourage the world that there is a sustainable, free, clean, and viable energy source available to us for the long haul. Yes, there are challenges facing the wind industry, but researchers and scientists are facing these challenges head on and making progress toward a world that utilizes wind energy efficiently and cost-effectively.
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