Wind power is recognized as clean and renewable, so why is there any community debate at all?
Three top advantages of wind power are:
• Renewable electricity generation
• Greatly reduced carbon emissions
• Energy independence
Energy that replenishes itself is known as renewable energy. Wind power doesn't burn fossil fuels. The wind is free and does not use up any fuel consumption to get it to the wind generation plant. Wind speed and duration are the only limiting factors in providing electricity using wind turbines. Renewable energy means there is an unlimited supply. Coal, oil, and natural gas are burned once and gone forever, while the wind keeps blowing all the time.
Carbon Dioxide or the creation of greenhouse gasses has been at the top of political agendas for many years. No matter what side you take in regard to the greenhouse gas effect on the environment, everyone can agree that reducing carbon emissions will not hurt the environment. I’m a skeptic about global warming because man is very insignificant compared to Mother Nature and Mother Nature will take care of herself no matter what course man decides to take. Decreasing carbon emissions will make the aireasier and safer to breathe.
One of the major advantages of wind energy is the significant “energy independence” it provides. This is true for developing or emerging nations, island nations, remote sites and even in mainstream society where wind power will never suffer from an embargo, it will not have a price escalation and wind will not run out. Energy independence makes a country self-dependent and reduces the risk of external economics and politics.
The three chief advantages of wind energy make it desirable, but there are some negative aspects involved which must be considered in your planning;
• Wind variability
Wind velocity varies minute by minute but exceptional engineering provides for it. First, there is a wind speed index for your locality. Proper engineering design uses the index to determine the feasibility of your project. If the index is not high enough then wind power is out of the picture; however, lower wind indices could just need more wind turbines to get the desired effect. Local wind variation is not a limiting or negative factor.
Noise is an issue and a wind turbine is capable of making as much noise as the family car traveling at 60-70 miles per hour. Noise is considered as part of the design of the wind power system. Minimum distances to houses are required, along with wind studies, noise studies are provided as well. This would not be a deterant if people got close to the run of the mill fossil fueled electrical plant. They are noisy, unsightly and often times smelly.
A wind farm requires a large parcel of land to be set aside. Every turbine requires enough room to allow for adequate wind flow. Spotting the turbines too close together degrades their output because the blades create wind turbulence which reduces the capability of subsequent turbines if they are too close. Wind farms are established in thousands of acres to provide reliable and efficient electricity. Before you criticize the size drive by your local fossil fuel power plant and look at how many acres it sits on. There isn’t much difference.
The advantages of wind power outweigh the disadvantages. The disadvantages currently exist with current fossil fuel plants and we didn’t even talk about what the mining industry does to the environment with its noise, size and variable costs. Wind power will play a significant role in reducing carbon emissions which benefits those who are in favor of reducing greenhouse gasses and those who are not.
Jason Smith is a writer-advocate for advantages of wind power, solar power systems and more engineering topics (click the link to find out more). Smith helps small municipalities and island nations find the right fit for their basic needs in terms of water, electricity and renewable energy.