Wind Farms Advantages and Disadvantages
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In 2020, the average person consumed about 10,715 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity annually. Using renewable energy sources for power can help the environment. Wind farms are areas where large turbines are grouped. These farms have both pros and cons. Here are wind farms’ advantages and disadvantages.
Why is Wind Energy All the Craze?
Countries are expanding on- and offshore wind energy projects to challenge energy-related emissions. Governments around the world are establishing decarbonization goals to minimize environmental degradation. Energy professionals are using wind turbines to decarbonize grids and access various benefits.
Wind energy is all the craze in the sustainability sector because of its grid compatibility. Professionals discovered America has about a 1,400-gigawatt (GW) wind energy potential. Replacing fossil fuels with wind power may protect the environment, economy and society’s health.
Eco-consumers are excited about wind-powered energy grids because of their small carbon footprints. Turbines generate zero greenhouse gas emissions while producing electricity. They also produce one of the most affordable energy supplies on the market.
Consumers can access emission-free electricity from turbines for significantly lower costs than fossil fuels. Wind power also protects individuals’ lung health by reducing localized pollution. Protecting surface-level and atmospheric environments can improve residents’ quality of life.
Wind farms are great for the planet by reducing the production of fossil fuels. Here are some more of the benefits wind farms provide.
1. It’s a Renewable Source of Energy
Wind is one of the cleanest energy sources by not relying on fossil fuels. That helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change. Climate change can lead to rising sea temperatures and more intense storms. Plus, wind won’t ever run out helping to conserve our natural resources.
2. It Creates More Jobs
We need people to operate and install the structure, increasing job opportunities. In fact, 85,000 Americans are currently working in the wind industry. There is more room for the field to grow as environmentalists continue to push for clean energy. The wind industry is predicted to employ 600,000 more people by 2050.
3. It’s Cost-Effective to Operate
Cost is an important factor in discussing wind farms’ advantages and disadvantages. While upfront costs are higher, operating costs are less expensive. Wind is a free fuel source and the turbines don’t require much maintenance.
In addition, these farms require fewer people to operate, reducing labor costs. The average cost to run a wind farm is about $48,000. On the other hand, to produce a megawatt of electricity from coal plants is between $41 and $74.
4. It Doesn’t Take Up Too Much Space
The turbines take up less ground space, so the land can also be used for farming. Plus, they are usually spread out, providing extra land in between. This is extremely beneficial to farmers who could use the additional income. Also, with more available space, you can place more turbines. On the other hand, solar panels are wider and cover a larger surface area.
5. Technology Is Advancing
New improvements are making wind turbines more energy-efficient. For example, they now have larger diameter rotors to capture more wind. The turbines are available in a wide range of styles expanding the market. So, they can be used in residential homes or for larger businesses. As the demand increases and technology advances, the structures can become more efficient and safe.
While wind farms have many pros, there are a few cons. Wind blades can have higher initial costs and are unpredictable. Here are a few downsides of wind energy to consider.
1. It Can Be Unpredictable
The generation of electricity relies on the speed of the wind. So, if the speeds are too low the rotor won’t spin. Therefore, it can be hard to predict how much electricity the turbine will generate over time. Another downside is that the electricity may not be available at peak demand times. This could cause an issue if there is an emergency, such as a blackout.
2. It Can be Noisy and Unattractive
When the structure is spinning faster, it can be noisy. So, it could cause inconvenience for families with smaller children or office workers. Also, the blade needs to be built high enough to capture the wind, which can block scenic views like lakes.
3. It Can Negatively Impact the Environment
It’s important to consider the environment when discussing wind farms’ advantages and disadvantages. Wind blades can harm birds and bats when rotating at higher speeds. The noise can also bother animals on the ground. Plus, constructing farms can disrupt natural habitats.
To reduce these impacts farmers need to find suitable places to build. It’s important to follow guidelines developed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service. Also, technology can help. For example, the IdentiFlight robot can spot and recognize birds.
4. It’s Placed in Remote Areas
To create wind energy you need a transmission process. This means generation sites are often located further away from population centers. However, the electricity needs to get to the populated area. So, transmission lines are required. Building this extra component takes more time and cash.
5. It Initial Costs Are Higher
The structures are taller, increasing the cost of supplies. Plus, there is the added cost of building power lines. Then there is the installation expense. The installation cost will depend on how it’s being used. For a home or farm, it can cost about $3,000 to $8,000 per kilowatt for a smaller turbine. Although, tax incentives can reduce the overall price.
Wind Farms Advantages and Disadvantages You Should Know
Wind is an excellent source of renewable energy for powering our devices. Building wind farms has many environmental and cost advantages. Although, it does have its downsides. We should consider all the wind farms’ advantages and disadvantages as we move into clean energy.
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About the author
Starting from an early age, Jane Marsh loved all animals and became a budding environmentalist. Now, Jane works as the Editor-in-Chief of Environment.co where she covers topics related to climate policy, renewable energy, the food industry, and more.