What are the pros and cons of wind energy?
Wind energy has been slated as one of the clean, low cost energy sources to replace fossil fuels over the next century. While wind energy has been thought of as a good and health energy source there are some drawbacks that need to be taken into consideration before investing in it. To evaluate the potential impacts of wind energy usage it is essential to evaluate its pros and cons.
Pros of Wind Energy
Wind energy offers a number of benefits and advantages when compared to fossil fuels and even to other renewable energy sources. The biggest advantage is that it is a very clean energy source. Nothing needs to be burned in order to produce wind energy. Another advantage is that it is a low cost energy source. In fact, after the initial investment to build and set up a wind farm there is little additional costs in terms of “mining” wind energy. Wind is free. The only subsequent costs are associated with wind turbine maintenance.
Accessibility is another top advantage offered by wind energy. Here, unlike fossil fuels that need to be mined and hydroelectric energy that needs a water source, wind energy is available around the globe. This makes wind energy not only a practical choice, but a logistically important one.
Cons of Wind Energy
While wind energy has a number of advantages that make it a logical choice for the next generation of energy consumers, it also has a few cons tied to it. The biggest con is that wind energy is not reliable. Wind patterns change on a daily basis and are impacted by global climate changes. This means that the amount of wind energy produced each year will vary depending on weather patterns.
Another con associated with wind energy is that wind farms have a dramatic impact on their environment. In order for a wind farm to be safe and functional a large amount of land needs to be cleared and set aside for the farm. This means that trees are cut down and vegetation is removed to make space for the wind turbines. This disrupts ecosystems and displaces animal and plant species.
The final con associated with wind energy production is associated with the unknown impacts that wind turbines can have on life forms. For example, research is currently being conducted on the health impact produced by the noise pollution produced by wind turbines. Other possible health concerns are associated with the hazard of working on wind turbines.