and Disadvantages of Wind Energy
energy offers many advantages, which explains why it's
the fastest-growing energy source in the world. Research
efforts are aimed at addressing the challenges to greater
use of wind energy.
energy is fueled by the wind, so it's a clean fuel source.
Wind energy doesn't pollute the air like power plants
that rely on combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal
or natural gas. Wind turbines don't produce atmospheric
emissions that cause acid rain or greenhouse gasses.
energy is a domestic source of energy, produced in the
United States. The nation's wind supply is abundant.
energy relies on the renewable power of the wind, which
can't be used up. Wind is actually a form of solar energy;
winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the
sun, the rotation of the earth, and the earth's surface
energy is one of the lowest-priced renewable energy technologies
available today, costing between 4 and 6 cents per kilowatt-hour,
depending upon the wind resource and project financing
of the particular project.
turbines can be built on farms or ranches, thus benefiting
the economy in rural areas, where most of the best wind
sites are found. Farmers and ranchers can continue to
work the land because the wind turbines use only a fraction
of the land. Wind power plant owners make rent payments
to the farmer or rancher for the use of the land.
power must compete with conventional generation sources
on a cost basis. Depending on how energetic a wind site
is, the wind farm may or may not be cost competitive.
Even though the cost of wind power has decreased dramatically
in the past 10 years, the technology requires a higher
initial investment than fossil-fueled generators.
major challenge to using wind as a source of power is
that the wind is intermittent and it does not always blow
when electricity is needed. Wind energy cannot be stored
(unless batteries are used); and not all winds can be
harnessed to meet the timing of electricity demands.
wind sites are often located in remote locations, far
from cities where the electricity is needed.
resource development may compete with other uses for the
land and those alternative uses may be more highly valued
than electricity generation.
wind power plants have relatively little impact on the
environment compared to other conventional power plants,
there is some concern over the noise produced by the rotor
blades, aesthetic (visual) impacts, and sometimes birds
have been killed by flying into the rotors. Most of these
problems have been resolved or greatly reduced through
technological development or by properly siting wind plants.