Wind Power

In the recent past, the notion of harnessing energy from wind has gained momentum as the world experiences the energy crisis attributed to the overreliance on fossil fuels as the chief source of energy. Fossil fuels are not renewable; hence, they can be depleted. Also, they have significant negative effects on the environment. To this end, wind power is being considered as one of the alternative forms of energy to help resolve the energy crisis. Moreover, wind energy holds the promise of counteracting global warming since it does not emit any greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere. Many agree that an urgent solution is needed for the looming energy crisis and global warming; thus, the world needs to look for a novel and more efficient source of energy. Wind power seems a feasible solution to averting global warming and the energy crisis. When wind power projects were proposed about three decades ago, one would undoubtedly consider them science projects; however, they have since developed into a major and dependable energy source. This paper argues that wind energy is a viable solution to avert the energy crisis and global warming in the future.

Wind power has numerous advantages such as being a clean energy source; can help lessen pollution; and reduces GHG emissions causing global warming. Most importantly, wind power is a completely renewable energy. Despite these advantages, skeptics and critics have voiced their concerns such as affecting the bird ecosystem, noise pollution, high initial costs, variability in wind distribution, and horrible eyesores tarnishing countryside. These concerns cannot be just ignored when considering the viability of wind power as the energy source of the future.

 

One of the first drawbacks associated with wind power is that wind turbines pose a threat to wildlife. Annually, about 40000-10000 birds die as a result colliding with the large wind turbine blades. Locating wind farms in wrong sites can have a detrimental impact on critical habitat. One of the species that has been adversely affected by wind power projects in California is the golden eagle. Moreover, in the Great Plains, the sage grouse has already become a threatened species and is facing the danger of extinction primarily because of the habitat loss associated with wind power projects. Nevertheless, whereas this might be worrying and a repellant factor with respect to ascertaining the true significance associated with wind energy, one cannot fail to envision the more crucial benefits offered by wind, and especially the fact that the bulk of these concerns raised can be resolved when addressed properly. For instance, research can be undertaken to explore the migratory flight patterns of birds prior to setting up wind turbines in order to lessen the possibility of bird deaths.

Those criticizing wind power are overstating the disadvantages of wind power, which Hermans considers a grave mistake. The direct impacts on the environment associated with wind power receive significant attention since they are visible – dead birds on the ground. However, the far greater environmental impacts stemming from oil drilling or global warming receive little attention because they are not visible, although they exist and are more significant.  Ellabban, Abu-Rub, & Blaabjerg argues that overlooking the environmental benefits offered by wind power and the role it plays in reducing pollution is severe blunder. It is worth noting that the wind turbines used presently are safer for birds when compared with their predecessors as the technology progresses. Moreover, with improvements in turbine technology, the noise pollution from wind turbines has reduced significantly. Another crucial factor in ensuring that turbines are safe for the environment relates mainly to the site of their placement. Through proper siting and planning of wind power projects, it is possible to significantly lessen the harm to birds caused by the wind turbines. 

Another common concern associated with wind power cited by skeptic relates to the aesthetic effect of the wind turbines. Nevertheless, proponents often claim that this assertion is subjective. Whereas some are likely to hold the view that wind farms are ghastly eyesore to the landscape, Hermans considers it just an opinion since many other people believe that wind turbines enhance views. With technological developments coupled with appropriate siting of wind plants, it is becoming possible to exploit all the environmental benefits associated with wind power. The environmental benefits of wind power obviously outweigh the likely, yet resolvable, detrimental impacts that it has on the environment. 

The economic disadvantage associated with wind power is another key issue of concern raised by those opposing wind power. Setting up wind power requires a substantial initial investment. Moreover, in most cases, good sites for setting up wind farms are often located in far and remote areas from cities that are in need of electricity. This poses concern with respect to the distribution of electricity. Chu & Majumdar further maintains that the best wind sites are found in far locations from areas that are densely populated like coasts and towns. Chu & Majumdar also maintain that, whereas the price of wind power has fallen in the recent past, it is still relatively costly when compared with electricity harnessed from natural gas or coal. Whereas the initial set up costs for wind power are high, it is an investment projected to payoff in the future.  Arent, Wise, & Gelman estimates that developing the wind power capacity in the Great Plains will help produce an estimated 138000 novel jobs during the first year. Besides job creation, wind farms are a source of revenue in rural areas. Also, wind turbines have negligible effect on the land hosting them. They have no impact of agriculture since farmers can still utilize the land for grazing and farming while simultaneously providing farmers with an opportunity to earn additional income from leasing their property to companies that generate wind power.

The distribution of wind power is also another limitation, especially with respect to transferring the wind energy generated to populated areas that need it. Additionally, there is no guarantee that wind will always blow constantly on a large scale. Nevertheless, a solution to this issue to develop a better national grid for electricity.  Arent, Wise, & Gelman asserts that an updated national grid would help offset for the variability, allowing the delivery of power across the country whenever and wherever required. Evidently, from an economic perspective, wind power is a viable alternative. It will facilitate efficient land utilization, create jobs, and provide revenue streams in rural areas. There is a need to exploit the benefits associated with wind power in order to addressing the growing energy demand by making investments in new electricity grid, which nonetheless, requires to be updated. Wind power investments are a win-win scenarios since it benefits both the economy as well as the environment.

In conclusion, besides the economic and environmental benefits of wind power, possibly the most crucial aspects associated with wind power stems from its ability to lessen over-reliance on fossil energy. The potential of wind power to be harnessed is immense. The wind energy exists, all that is needed is to tap it. Win power is eco-friendly, clean, and renewable. With energy consumption growing continuously and fossil fuels facing the risk of depletion, wind power can reduce dependency on fossil field. Therefore, rather the focusing on exploring non-renewable fossil energy that is bound to run out, investments can be made in wind power as a solution that is both economically ideal and eco-friendly.

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Jun 26, 2020 in Research
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