What is wind energy?
Wind energy is a secondary form of solar energy. Wind energy is basically obtained from naturally flowing air, whereby kinetic energy is converted in to mechanical energy via wind turbines. Then generators are used to convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy.
Wind energy (power) directly depends upon three factors, which are wind speed, air density and swept area. The most important factor is wind speed, as it can affect the production of wind power.
Pros of wind energy
Clean, Green and Renewable source of Energy
As wind energy is a renewable energy source, so it is a environmentally friendly technology which helps to mitigate the effect of climate change. Unlike fossil fuel such as coal, petroleum and natural gas it is inexhaustible and replenish source of energy. For more info about Green Energy read our article: Green energy.
Low running costs
Even though it has high set up costs which makes it expensive technology, its running and maintenance costs are relatively low.
Space efficient source of energy
Even though installing wind turbines takes up a lot of land space and area, the same land and area can be used simultaneously for other useful work such as farming.
Wind energy production generates jobs, opportunities and related business for local communities. It can also generate jobs in other industries and related industries such as manufacturing, despatching as well as other areas relating to technology.
As it is naturally produced, it is available freely to everybody. There is no cost or charge for the wind, just the cost of the wind turbines to harness the wind energy.
Reduces dependency on conventional fuels
Incorporating this energy source in our energy mix will reduce our dependency on conventional fuels such as fossil fuel. And, this clean source of energy can greatly impact on the overall economy to save large amounts of money that countries are spending to import all forms of fossil fuel.
Cons of wind energy
Wind energy is intermittent
As wind energy is a form of solar energy, it is dependant on solar source. Solar energy is an intermittent form of energy as it depends on the availability of the sun. Due to intermittency it is not a constant source of energy.
Noise and visual pollution
As wind turbines rotate it causes noise which can be harmful to people living nearby. It can affect their hearing and cause hearing loss. Wind production directly relates to height, so as the height of the wind turbines increases, the energy production increases. So at high altitudes, they can sometimes interrupt the scenic beauty of land, oceans, lakes, mountains, meadow views etc.
Negative impact on the surrounding environment
As wind turbines rotate at high speeds, they can be harmful or fatal to anything flying near it. So, it is very dangerous for natural habitat present in the area. Technological advances and site visits can help to protect or save lives of habitat in the area.
High upfront cost
The initial upfront cost such as cost of hydro power systems, is very high, which makes it less attractive as compared to other technology such as fossil fuel.
Can harness from fixed locations only
A major drawback of this technology is that it is location specific. And potential for good or adequate wind is not available in every region. Usually wind potential is present in shore sides, remote areas etc.
Read about the pros and cons of onshore wind energy from LSE here.
Read about advantage and disadvantage of offshore wind farms from AGI here.
Read about the future of solar energy at the MIT here.
Read more on Green and Wind Energy, at NYT, here.
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