Have you ever walked outside and felt like the wind was going to literally blow you away? If you’ve ever experienced this, you know the force and power behind that natural resource called wind. Wind power is easily harnessed and converted to both electric and mechanical energy. The use of wind power dates back to the ninth century, when the Ancient Persians created the first windmill.
What is Wind Power?
Noted in our previous blog, “Wind power is the process of harnessing energy from the movement of the wind and converting it to useful forms of mechanical power and electricity. Today, most wind energy comes from turbines – essentially giant windmills. The wind turns two or three of the turbine’s propeller-like blades around the turbine’s rotor. The rotor is connected to a main shaft, which spins a generator to create electricity.”
We think it’s important to look at the pros and cons of wind power, and below, we’ve outlined some of the advantages and disadvantages of this natural energy source.
What are Some Advantages of Wind Power?
1) It’s a green source of energy. Meaning, it produces few carbon emissions and little pollution.
2) It’s used for mechanical and electrical power.
3) It’s derived from a virtually unlimited resource—the wind.
4) The operational costs are low because wind is a free, natural resource.
5) Although they take up lots of space, windmills are space-efficie
nt: According to Energy Informative, “The largest wind turbines are capable of generating enough electricity to meet the energy demand of 600 average U.S. homes. The wind turbines can`t be placed too close to each other, but the land in-between can be used for other things. This is why many farms would benefit more from installing wind turbines…”
6) Many governments offer tax incentives to spur wind-energy development.
7) Windmill farms can be installed on land and within ocean waters, making the space for this extremely plentiful.
Right now, there are over 200,000 wind turbines worldwide; with Germany having the most installed wind energy farms, followed by Spain, the United States, India, and Denmark.
What are Some Disadvantages of Wind Power?
1) Windmills can be considered noisy and a nuisance to the public due to the sound produced from the propeller-like blades.
2) The amount of energy harnessed varies and fluctuates, as wind speeds and currents are highly volatile in most places.
3) The manufacturing and installation costs are heavy for both residential and commercial locations.
4) Wind farms are not aesthetically pleasing to some.
5) Wind farms may impose a threat to wildlife. Birds have been found caught in the turbines.
The Future of Wind Power
Wind power is a great alternative to fossil fuels and the future of this renewable energy source is promising. It’s a “no brainer” that this form of power is also the fastest-growing source of electricity production in the world. And according to the National Geographic, “industry experts predict that if this pace of growth continues, by 2050, the answer to one-third of the world’s electricity needs will be found blowing in the wind.”
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