Modern people depend on energy which is mostly produced by fossil fuels which resources are not limitless. The use of renewable energy is considered to be the solving of the problem of natural resources exhaustion. The use of wind power energy has become more popular nowadays when the environment protection is the burning issue. “Since the beginning of the 1980s, the power of a wind turbine has increased by a factor of more than 200” (The European Wind Energy Association, n.d.). Wind power is known as the so-called “green” source of energy as far as it is the most environmentally friendly way of energy production among other traditional ones. As any other source of energy wind power has advantages and disadvantages that are the main topic of our research. Despite all advantages and disadvantages this source of energy may be effectively used. There is a certain compromise between its benefits and weak points that makes the exploitation of wind turbines more effective.
The variability of wind is considered to be the main disadvantage of wind energy. People depend on weather conditions when they use wind as the main source of energy. The energy produced by wind is not always available when it is highly in demand. The deaths of flying creatures such as birds and bats caused by blades of wind turbines have evoked the concern of many environmentalists nowadays. Nevertheless this kind of energy is known as the most environmentally friendly comparing to other traditional sources of energy. The exploitation of wind turbines does not produce emissions polluting environment. Although this alternative source of energy has some disadvantages, it is the most effective and profitable comparing to other traditional fossil fuels used as the sources of energy. The wind farm companies point out that the balance between advantages and disadvantages is needed to make wind power more effective and stable.
The Advantages of Wind Power
Production of wind turbines has been started from 1980 when the Danish innovation was introduced to the world. Some improvements have been achieved since that time to get as much energy as possible from wind. Wind turbines are effective and economical in their use. Wind power is not such expensive comparing to nuclear, coal or gas energy. More than that, it is inexhaustible comparing to other natural resources whose resources seem to run out in the future. It should be taken into account that a design lifetime of a wind turbine is 120,000 hours comparing for example to the car engine which design lifetime is only 6,000 hours of exploitation. MW wind turbine may supply energy to 650 households (The European Wind Energy Association, n.d.). Wind turbines have a high availability which is accounted to 98%. It should be pointed out that no other electricity producing technology has a higher availability (The European Wind Energy Association, n.d.).
Wind power is free and abundant. This kind of energy is economically stable comparing to price volatility of other popular resources such as coal or gas whose prices are changed and influenced by economical situation in the world (Why Wind Energy? 2012). The U.S. Department of Energy states, that “Wind 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” (Bauqhman, D 2010). The price of energy produced by wind is very attractive to the modern economy.
Those countries that have coal or gas resources have more power over those countries that have to buy these resources while wind is a domestic source of energy to every country (Bauqhman, D 2010). Wind power may be used by everyone free of charge. Wind power does not depend on imported fuels but it depends on weather conditions. When the average wind speed doubles, the energy produced by turbines increases in 130% (The European Wind Energy Association).
Wind power stations are land friendly and agricultural and industrial activities can continue around it (The European Wind Energy Association, n.d.).According to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, “Wind 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” (Bauqhman, D 2010). Although wind farms occupy large areas they are not very harmful to the localities.
The Disadvantages of Wind Energy
Despite the fact that wind turbines are environmentally friendly and economically profitable there are some disadvantages. One of the main disadvantages of wind power is its dependence on wind speed. It should be taken into account that wind speed is not uniform that influences the work of wind turbines. Low wind speed does not produce enough energy while high wind speed may spoil wind turbines. “The operating range of a regular wind turbine is usually between 6.7 mph to 56 mph” (White, J 2011). Wind speed that does not correspond to these limits makes the work of wind turbines useless. It is the main reason why wind power stations cannot replace conventional sources of energy. It is impossible to reject all other sources of energy using only wind as the main source of power.
Wind turbines need to be innovated as far as their construction does not convert all mechanical power into electrical one and part of wind energy is useless as far as it is not converted. Wind plants lose nearly 41% of energy received from wind (White, J 2011). The remaining 59% are not enough to supply the great amount of people. More than that, wind turbines are vulnerable to thunderstorms. These constructions may be easily damaged due to its delicate details. These conditions make wind farms more expensive as it may seem at first.
Construction of wind turbines need a lot of space as far as wind does not blow in a concentrated way. Wind turbines should be constructed over a large area to produce enough energy. More than that, wind turbines cannot be constructed closely to each other as far as it is necessary a lot of space for them to work in a proper way due to some turbulence factors. As a result, it is necessary to have free land to produce wind energy. There are a lot of cases when wind power stations do not justify their constructions. Many countries reject to use this alternative source of energy as far as it does not compensate means spent on its construction.
There are many scientists who do not consider this alternative source of energy to be environmentally friendly. It should be noted that many forests have been destructed to clear the necessary space for construction of wind energy plants. More than that, huge blades of wind turbines hurt many flying creatures (White, J 2011). The noise produced by wind plants is harmful for humans and it is one of the reasons why these wind plants are built far from population aggregates. These reasons allow the modern scientists not to consider wind power to be the so-called ‘green’ source of energy at all. As a result, wind plants are put up at the long distances to localities and it is difficult to pass the received energy to these localities due to these distances (White, J 2011).
The Compromise between Advantages and Disadvantages
We live in the era of modern technologies when people need huge amounts of energy. Wind power seems to be the source of energy for our future as far as its energy is limitless. This kind of energy as well as the others has its advantages and disadvantages. It is necessary to find the balance between its benefits and drawbacks to make wind power more popular.
First of all, it is highly important to choose the area for wind turbines. They need to be built in the wind areas otherwise the work of wind turbines is useless. There are a lot of deserted areas on our planet that may be very useful for producing energy. It is a great mistake when forests and localities are destroyed to construct wind farms.
There are many people who are against the idea of wind power considering this alternative source of energy to be harmful and unprofitable. Those people should take into account other traditional sources of energy such as coal or nuclear power. They do not want to live near wind farms but if there is a choice between nuclear stations, coal plants and wind farms what they choose in this case (Wind Power Problems, Alleged Problems and Objections 2008). Taking into account advantages and disadvantages of traditional sources of energy wind power has a lot of benefits. Such alternative sources of energy are necessary to save our planet from the redundancy of greenhouse gas that is the main reason of global warming.
“It is assumed that at the present moment approximately 20% of electricity demand on a large-scale power network could be fulfilled by wind energy with no severe technical difficulties” (Siyahhan 2011, p.49). Wind power has not been still considered seriously at the world market as the profitable source of energy due to its unreliability that is the main reason of its unpopularity among most countries. The productivity of this source of energy may be improved with modification of power systems. Power systems that will be able to catch more wind power make this source of energy more profitable.
From the above said, we may conclude that wind power has become one of the most popular renewable sources of energy supporting by many environmentalists. Nevertheless this kind of energy has not been studied in a full way. Wind farms need to be modified and improved to catch more energy and cause less damage to environment. Despite some disadvantages there is no doubt that it is the energy of our future.
Bauqhman, D 2010, Advantages and Disadvantages Wind Powered Energy, Web.
Siyahhan, B 2011, The Future of Wind Power in Europe, Web.
The European Wind Energy Association, n.d., 2012, Web.
White, J 2011, Wind Power – The Disadvantages of Wind Energy, Web.
Why Wind Energy? 2012, Web.
Wind Power Problems, Alleged Problems and Objections 2008, Web.