Wind Energy: Pros and Cons

Wind Energy: Pros and Cons

Wind energy has been a major topic of discussion in recent years as more and more countries are shifting their attention to developing sustainable renewable energy sources, with growing numbers of supporters and protestors of wind development on both sides of the fence. In order to better understand both sides it is important to know and understand many of the pros and cons associated with wind energy and its continued development in different areas:

Pros

1. Due to the nature of the power source wind energy can be utilized as a sustainable, clean energy production method with little to no carbon emissions throughout its lifespan and limited carbon emission during the development of each piece necessary to generate electricity, making it a truly efficient and effective “green” energy production method.

2. Offshore wind developments can be highly effective and efficient at converting wind current energy into useful energy on a regular basis, and it has been estimated that utilization of pure offshore wind farms alone could offset all of the energy needs of the world as of right now.

3. Although wind energy can be considered a form of solar energy due to the sun’s role in generating global wind currents wind turbines as of right now have a much more effective energy conversion ratio in utilizing available ambient energy than photovoltaic solar panels, meaning they are far more cost effective than solar cells given the current state of solar photovoltaic technology.

4. For those that are technically oriented windmills can be designed and created from the comfort of a person’s home without any additional need for manufacturers or outside assistance, making them highly versatile and available to homeowners and businesses alike around the world.

Cons

1. The massive nature of any effective wind turbine requiring a minimum of 80 feet of height in order to utilize cleaner, steadier wind streams only found at higher altitudes to be considered relatively efficient at energy production means that any established wind energy generation structure may be an eyesore in some areas.

2. The development of wind farms, either on land or offshore, generally means the disruption and possible destruction of delicate ecosystems in many areas and thus potentially more harm than good being done to the environment as a whole by their establishment.

3. Many concerns over utilizing public land for wind farm developments lie in the fact that any reasonable output can only be obtained through the development of significant wind farms, which may encroach upon otherwise protected areas and potentially violate development treaties with some sovereign peoples.

4. Recent studies indicate that over-development of wind energy production facilities could actually have an overall negative impact upon the world environment as a whole due to the impediment of natural wind flow wind turbines create. While this is estimated to only be noticeable when energy production reaches the state of terawatts (while currently most wind farms operate solely in the megawatt range) as well as requiring some time to have any effects truly manifest themselves nevertheless the fact has warranted further investigations and is a potential major concern for wind developers in addition to a possible roadblock in future large-scale wind energy development projects.



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