Studying the wind energy pros and cons is very important in evaluating this technology. As the second largest source of renewable energy, it indeed shows promise. The following outlines wind energy pros and cons.
The Benefits of Wind Energy
First, wind energy is green energy. Construction and installation aside, generating energy from wind does not emit pollutants that damage the air. It is greener for the climate compared to other energy sources such as coal, fossil fuel, and nuclear energy.
Second, wind energy is renewable. For as long as the sun keeps shining, the world will not run out of wind. This is because nuclear fusion processes in the sun produce wind. Today, the world relies so much on fossil fuel, a scarce resource, for its energy consumption. Eventually, we are bound to use up all the available fossil fuel and left with none.
Third, wind energy is practically everywhere. While there may be windier cities than others, generating wind energy can be done virtually anywhere. It is a matter of selecting which areas allow for a more cost-efficient wind energy generation.
Fourth, wind energy has become cheaper. According to publications, the cost of generating wind energy has gone down by 60% since the eighties. This downward trend is expected to continue given technological improvements and demand growth.
Fifth, wind energy can be generated at home. Much like solar panels, homeowners can also put up wind energy installations.
The Costs of Wind Energy
First, wind energy is unpredictable. The availability of wind energy constantly varies. Thus, as a source of energy, it is not reliable on its own. It has to be used alongside other sources of energy, both renewable and non-renewable, in order to fulfill demand.
Second, wind energy is costly vis a vis other sources of energy. While its costs have significantly lowered through the years, it is still more expensive when compared to more established energy sources like coal and fossil fuel.
Third, wind energy is noisy. Even though the newer wind turbines are less noisy than old designs, these nonetheless contribute to noise pollution especially in nearby residential areas.
Fourth, wind energy look unpleasant. Some people complain that wind turbines are quite unsightly, unless situated nearby farms and the outdoors.
Fifth, wind turbines are dangerous for flying creatures. Birds and bats are killed upon contact with wind turbine blades. In fact, studies show that wind turbines in the United States account for over 20 thousand avian fatalities.
Indeed, whether wind energy’s benefits outweigh its costs remains a debate. There is a need to determine whether it is a truly viable alternative source of energy, and, in doing so, a careful evaluation of wind energy pros and cons need to be done.