Why is wind energy good?
In the words of the famous naturalist, John Burroughs.
“The fuel in the earth will be exhausted in more than 1000 or more years and its mineral wealth, but man will find substitutes of these in the winds, the waves, the sun’s heat, and so forth.”
The use of wind energy has been around for a long time. Still, the technological advancements in the last year have improved efficiency multifold, i.e., the conversion of wind energy into electricity has increased up to 50%.
Wind energy is the largest source of renewable generation in the US, preventing more than 329 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions. Wind turbines producing wind energy have generated more than 100 million watts of electricity.
As per the US department of energy’s land-based wind market report, the average turbine generates over 843k kWh monthly, which is enough to provide electricity for more than 940 homes in the US.
How reliable are wind farms?
Wind energy is harnessed with the aid of wind turbines and wind farms. But with the increased use of wind energy, the reliability of wind turbines has come into question. Wind turbines are machines that capture the wind’s kinetic energy and convert it into electrical energy. The reliability of wind farms is determined by how proactively the turbines perform the intended functions, the failure rates, and the handling of potential problems in case of unplanned outages.
The reliability of wind farms has achieved the benchmark of 98%. However, there are times when some equipment could perform better, but that can be worked with better designs and electric components.
Is wind energy sustainable?
The use of wind power has the advantage of being carbon neutral, making it a sustainable energy source. The reduction of the carbon footprint caused by windmills has become easier due to high-tech technology. Wind turbines last about 25 years, and during this time, they generate 40 times more energy than a wind farm requires for disposal, operation, and production.
Regarding the recycling of wind turbines, approximately 84%-90% can be easily recycled. Many international companies and research centers have developed fully recyclable wind turbine designs and new materials, enhancing sustainability. Further, the waste generated by obsolete wind turbines is insignificant compared to the available amount of waste going to landfills in the United States.
What are the advantages of wind farms?
Minimal environmental impact: Wind energy releases no air or water pollution and is inexhaustible. Electricity or any energy produced through wind energy does not use any natural resources in its extraction or transportation. For the entire wind energy setup, the land is the only natural resource that is used when turbines are set up, but the land is also being used for agriculture at the same time.
Economical green source of energy: Wind energy continues to be the cheapest source of energy alongside solar energy.
Availability and economic benefits: Wind energy production is set up in rural areas with little development. In addition to providing them with electricity, it also allows them to reap economic benefits from lease payments to developers and agricultural activities. As per the USDA census of agriculture, 40% of agricultural land is rented.
Low operating costs: Wind energy doesn’t require any fuels in its operation, so its pricing doesn’t depend on any fluctuation of coal, oil, etc. Despite some installation costs associated with wind turbines, it has been found that the wholesale value of wind power quickly reimburses these costs.
Improved public health: Using renewable energy sources reduces human impact on climatic conditions, reduces greenhouse gas emissions, and refrains from emitting harmful gases, hence having cleaner air that helps in better health and respiratory conditions.
What are the disadvantages of wind farms?
The various drawbacks of wind farms are-
Noise Pollution: One of the challenges is that turbines in wind parks produce noise pollution that affects the community living within proximity. The rotation of blades creates noise as it leads to wind vortex and mechanical operation. Wind farms are also considered unappealing aesthetically to scenic landscapes as they need to be built at a height for them to be economically viable.
Infrastructural Investments: The existence of certain location restrictions requires additional investment to install the infrastructure. The generation sites and areas with strong and sustained winds, such as coastal areas, open plains, etc., are usually situated in remote parts, leading to expensive technological interventions to build power and transmission lines.
Unable to provide round-the-clock power: Another downside is that wind farms are not consistent sources of power generation as wind energy is contingent on the reliable flow of wind and its speed. Additionally, wind energy storage capacity is handy to depend on wind turbines to meet the electricity demand.
Impacting wildlife: Wind turbines affect wildlife and the surrounding environment. Flying creatures, such as birds, bats, etc., are killed and suffer harm as they hit the wind turbine’s blades. The natural habitat of local species also gets disrupted if the construction of wind farms is not planned sustainably. Another major concern pertains to the erosion and deforestation emanating from the construction of wind farm projects.
Wind farms vs. fossil fuels
Here are five noteworthy differences between wind farms and fossil fuels:
The wind is one of the natural resources that can be replenished during the production of renewable energy, which takes an average human lifetime. Still, millions of years are taken into account to replenish the fossil fuels such as coal, natural gas, etc.
Wind energy is still in its infancy, but the generation of renewable energy through the help of wind power is lately outgrowing fossil fuels.
Renewable energy is the cleaner form of energy and does not emit CO2 in the case of wind energy other than the emission in the construction and maintenance part. On the contrary, fossil fuel causes air pollution and produces unhealthy by-products like dirty smog. It also raises the temperature of the earth through fossil fuel combustion.
Compared to fossil fuels, the energy produced from wind farms is cost-competitive. The costs attached to wind energy have significantly decreased due to the substantial improvement in wind energy technology. Fossil fuel electricity production costs companies to a greater extent concerning maintenance, operations, and cleanup.
Fossil fuels are easier to store and ship across as the distribution network has expanded gradually in recent years. However, a lot of alternative efficient technological interventions are the need of the hour for storing the energy from wind turbines.
Following the path of sustainable development goals, it must be noted that the pressing priority is to expand the usage of renewable energy and work on its sustenance. The only way to reduce the dependency on fossil fuels is through facilitating technological advancements necessitated for effective renewable energy production.
What is a river wind farm?
River turbines are one of the specialized technologies through which energy is harnessed from flowing water. They are generally situated near the flowing water, which needs 3-4 knots for maximum performance. An area of land between 1 and 100 acres covered by large-scale turbines is known collectively as a river turbine farm.
The technology in river turbines functions such that when the flow of the water is increased, it results in decreased pressure at the back edges of the plane. It leads turbines to spin faster. The energy generated is stored and distributed with the help of the national electrical grid. The infrastructure of these turbines is well-built so that they stand up against the rubble and ice.
The new US government goal of a 100% carbon pollution-free electricity system by 2030 and net-zero emissions by 2050. In comparison, the world is facing lots of climatic and weather changes due to increasing urbanization and technological advancements. In light of the damage wind energy is causing to the environment, wind power is creating a blessing with all the win-win factors mankind desires, including a small footprint, energy efficiency, clean energy, and minimal use of natural resources which enhances sustainable development and beneficial for overall country’ growth.