Wind Energy Pros And Cons: The True Advantage Of Wind Power

Combating global warming has been on the many people’s mind for decades. Although this remains a controversial topic for some, it is also true that some are determined to promote alternative energy sources such as wind energy. But what are the pros and cons of wind power? What is its true advantage?

When most people think about the alternative energy they tend to think of solar energy and wind energy. And it is true that they are both renewable and, because they do not generate greenhouse gasses, are clean sources of energy. The good news is that both sources of energy are fast growing in many countries. It is a fact that using wind energy will reduce our reliance on highly polluting fossil fuels.

We need to bring sustainable energy to every corner of the globe with technologies like solar energy mini-grids, solar powered lights, and wind turbines. – Ban Ki-moon

But having said that there are also some disadvantages of wind energies. So, looking at all the pros and cons of wind energy objectively is the best way to find out what the true advantages of wind power are.

What Are The Pros of Wind Energy?

There are many advantages of wind energy. Some of them well know while some others are less so.

Wind Energy Pros:

  • Does not emit greenhouse gases such as CO2
  • Renewable energy source
  • Allows countries to become energy independent
  • A cost-effective energy source
  • Small physical footprint on the ground
  • Can be utilized by practically anyone anywhere

The main advantage of wind energy is that is a clean source of power. But what does that mean? It means that, unlike fossil fuels, the creation of wind energy does not create any air pollution. But not only that, producing wind energy doesn’t require any chemicals. Because wind energy can be used to reduce our reliance on coal or oil, one of its main advantages is that it can have an active effect in reducing overall pollution.

The second advantage is that using wind to generate energy is that wind is a renewable source. To put it simply, the wind is a free resource. It does not belong to anyone because it belongs to all of us. There are many places around the world where the wind blows hard. Unlike other energy sources, the wind is a source that will never run out. As long as our planet continues to turn, the wind will never stop.

It is true that it is necessary to invest in wind turbines and then transport the generated energy to other regions. However, the costs are gradually lower.

And that brings us to the next advantage. Wind energy is a cost-effective energy source. From the point of view of a consumer, wind energy can be accessed at a relatively low cost. Why? Mainly because a single wind turbine can produce energy for several homes at the same time. But not only that, this kind of energy can be obtained for different service organizations. So, you don’t need to own your own wind turbine in order to benefit from it.

Another important advantage is that wind turbines can be installed in existing farmland. The setting up of new wind turbines can be easily installed on existing rural land. There is no need to create new space. One of the benefits of this kind of energy is that the land it requires can be used for multiple purposes at the same time, for example, agriculture and wind energy farm.

Another advantage is its potential and rapid growth. Because of all the different sizes and costs of wind turbines, currently many individuals and companies can afford to convert to wind energy.

What Are The Cons of Wind Energy?

Although its proponents would highlight its many advantages, it is true that wind energy has also some important disadvantages.

Wind Energy Cons:

  • High initial investment to build and install
  • Inconsistent energy during times of low wind
  • No ability in itself to store energy
  • Limited geographically to areas of consistent wind
  • Risk of lightning strikes and bird deaths
  • Visual and noise pollution, especially in populated areas
  • Ideally situated in remote locations

One of the main cons of wind energy is that wind is not a reliable source of energy. Like every other weather phenomena, the wind is not something that we can rely on. Not only are there places that are too sheltered to be windy enough, but even in windy areas, it is never windy enough for turbines to work at one-hundred percent capacity.

In fact, extremely windy conditions can be counterproductive as they can damage wind turbines. This is one of the main contradictions in creating wind energy. There is also the very real risk that turbines might be hit by lighting.

Another important disadvantage is that wind turbines could cause damage and even be responsible for killing some of the wildlife in the area they are set up. As one of the main advantages to people is the ostensible lack of environmental impact of generating wind energy, this is something that environmentally minded people must be considered. Birds and other flying animals can get caught by wind turbines. The sharp fast-moving edges of wind turbines can easily damage and kill them violently. And the main issue with this is that it is impossible to avoid.

Wind turbines also have the potential to be damaging to other animals and, even, people. If a sharp blade were to fall from a turbine, it could cause serious damage.

It is true that wind turbines do not produce any air pollution but they create visual and noise pollution. Many people would object to the way wind turbines look and the negative visual impact they create, particularly, in the countryside. Also, wind turbines are noisy. Often this is not an issue as wind farms are located in remote rural locations. But that is not always the case. So their potential for noise pollution needs to be taken into account, as most people would not be happy living nearby a wind turbine, let alone several of them.

Another important con is that wind turbines can only be installed in specific areas which very often happen to be remote from where most people live. Although there are ways to transport wind energy they do require an extra expense. And this takes us to the final disadvantage. Wind turbines are expensive to install and maintain. So this kind of energy source requires large initial investments that not everyone can afford.

So these are the pros and cons of wind energy. No energy source is perfect and, wind energy is, of course, no exception to this.

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6 Comments

  • Of yes visual pollution? give me a break mate.

    The vast majority of the people love wind turbine kinetic beauty. By now there have been hundreds of surveys and the ratio of people that love the looks to those who hate them is 10 to 1. Even most of the minority who hates the looks loves the economics and pollution reduction.

    Noise pollution? Have you stood under a turbine the blades turning over your head? Much quieter than your neighbour’s air conditioning. The small old ones were indeed noisy but that was over forty years ago.

    Kill wildlife? again the little turbines, noisy, fast turning ones killed some important birds in the Altamont Pass. That was forty years ago as well. The Center for Biodiversity that raised the issue of birds there, asked to replace the little turbines with the huge safe ones. One modern turbine replaces 100 of the noisy little ones that killed birds. In Denmark over 6 years radar studies monitoring by day and night birds (and even moths) near wind turbine parks proved bird collisions were EXTREMELY rare – one bird a year per turbine. Given that the reduced pollution saves tens of thousands of birds from respiratory deaths, mercury poisoning, and oil spills, the few birds deaths are mitigated by thousands of bird lives saved.

    You failed to mention the one negative of wind turbines, which is the distraction of the fossil fuel economy. But most people see this as a good thing not bad. Children’s health is uppermost reason that most people support wind power.

  • There is no visual pollution.

    The vast majority of the people love wind turbine kinetic beauty. By now there have been many many surveys and the people that love the looks far outnumber those who hate them or are afraid of them. True there is a woman in Buffalo New York that reminds her of oversized spiders, but this is extremely rare reaction. Even most of the minority that hates the looks loves the pollution reduction.

    Noise pollution? Anyone who stood under a modern, huge, wind turbine, the blades turning over head, knows wind turbines are quieter than your neighbor’s air conditioning. The old small ones were indeed noisy but that was over forty years ago.

    Kill wildlife? again the little turbines, noisy, fast turning killed some important birds at the Altamont Pass. That was forty years ago as well. The Center for Biodiversity that raised the issue of birds there, asked that the little turbines be replaced with the huge safe ones. One modern turbine replaces 100 of the noisy little ones that killed birds. In Denmark over 6 years radar of studies monitoring by day and night birds (and even moths) near wind turbine parks proved bird collisions were EXTREMELY rare – one bird a year per turbine. http://www.windustrious.org/documents/Danish-radar-bird-studies.pdf

    Given that reduced pollution saves tens of thousands of birds from respiratory damage deaths, mercury poisoning, and oil spills, the few birds deaths are mitigated by thousands of bird lives saved.

    One negative of wind turbines, not mentioned in the article, is the destruction of the fossil fuel economy. But most people see the elimination of air pollution as a good thing, not bad. Children’s health is uppermost reason that most people support wind power.

  • Good morning!
    There are two issues with regards to wind energy which seem to stay below the radar:
    1. The fact that wind energy is an intermittent supply and the effect this has on system stability of the electrical grids. As long as there is an adequate amount of rotating mass in the grid, the issue is not so pronounced, but if the contribution of intermittent alternative sources exceeds approximately 20% of the total system, system stability is a real issue.
    2. Wind generators remove energy from the wind stream. Just like with cars, a few do not have a significant impact. But we are now in the process of removing serious quantities of energy from the atmosphere. Where are these environmental impact assessments? Aren’t we again contributing to climate change here? Food for thought!

  • Several of the “Pros” are contradicted by the “Cons” and other explanations just don’t make sense!

    That a single wind turbine can produce energy for multiple homes does not make it cost effective. What matters is the all-in cost per unit of electricity. The high upfront cost of the equipment is very relevant to the “cost-effectiveness” of wind power. A high up-front cost may very well be more than made up for by the low O&M cost down the road, but it also might not be. The break-even time is often a good ways out – which is fine for entities that can handle it (regulated utilities, government, rich folk, etc.).

    Also, a “Pro” is that it “Can be utilized by practically anyone anywhere” & “Allows countries to become energy independent”, but the “Cons” identify that it is limited from a functional perspective (i.e. need windy areas) and a political perspective (i.e. pollution and ideally situated in remote areas) & is inconsistent.

    I’m a big fan of wind, but articles like this will not serve to advance it.

  • I notice that Eleftherios Pavlides posts in various forums, smugly dismissing the bleak aesthetics of wind turbines. Who is this guy to lecture others on what really matters? Would he put 500-foot eyesores on the rim of the Grand Canyon and angrily expect people to worship them? Many lesser-known scenic areas have already been ruined. He fawns over man-made construction by profession, and seems particularly glad to ruin natural landscapes with ugly-sticks that can’t exist without fossil fuels and will never replace them. At least a loot like Donald Trump recognizes where skyscrapers actually belong!

    It’s a shame Trump is with the anti-wind power movement but it hardly proves we’re global warming deniers. We hate seeing nature ruined by anything, and climate change is just a symptom of the same mindset that clamors for sprawling wind projects. People vested in $prawl infrastructure won’t admit that economic growthism is the real problem and hide their money-motives under a green blanket.

    According to Pavlides’ oft-parroted narrative, anyone who doesn’t appreciate horizons full of huge, noisy, bird & bat killing machines must be a NIMBY, climate-denier, imagining blade & gear noises, unappreciative of the fact that house-cats also kill birds (never mind that they kill different species, and more bats are dying by the blade than anything else).

    Wind turbines are highly intrusive on placid rural landscapes, like nothing else that existed before the 1990s when they started to spread. Due to their siting, they usually exist in a context apart from mining & drilling and the environmental damage is cumulative. It takes a lot of fossil fuel to truck and install them, along with new roads, mountaintop blasting, and permanent logging. Their enormous impact is downplayed with every “green” platitude wind shills can summon.

    One aspect they can’t lie about is the sheer size and visibility of their white monsters, so they insist we must accept them as “beautiful” or we’re anti-progress. Who gave these quasi-environmentalists the right to claim higher morality?

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