As the pressure on oil and other non-renewable sources of energy keep on increasing due to mass globalization and an ever increasing human population, the need to find alternative sources of energy have become a more important priority over the last few decades. The problem is that not only do the alternative sources of energy need to be there, but they also need to be adequately efficient enough to replace the use of fossil fuels at least up to a certain extent. Solar energy, bio energy, hydro electricity and of course wind energy are some of the popular sources of alternative energy that the experts are relying on to supply the world with power once the fossil fuels become non-existent.
Wind energy is harvested with the help of a wind turbine and converted into electricity that can be used for running various electricity based appliances and processes. Using wind energy is definitely a step towards the “Go Green” campaign that has become popular as well as necessary today, but there are also other advantages of harvesting the power of wind as well. Below you will find a little discussion on the topic.
1. The first and the foremost advantage of utilizing wind energy is of course that it is not harmful for the environment as nothing is burned to attain the electricity from moving air. Even solid biofuels like sawdust, wood, charcoal, manure and all the others give out polluting gases and particulates that are unhealthy for the environment, but wind energy solves that problem quite effectively.
2. As mentioned before, the main function of wind energy or any other form of renewable source of energy is to reduce the pressure of global demand on fossil fuels that is shortening their already limited life. If the areas that are suitable for harvesting wind energy start to rely on it instead of relying on traditional sources of electricity, then this goal can be achieved effectively.
3. A very significant advantage that windmills have over the traditional power stations is the fact that they require much lesser area to set up. Not only does this advantage make it cheaper to set the mill up as one would require less land, but one must also not forget that the area around the windmill can then be used for setting up adjacent farms also, which in fact is often the case at places like this.
4. Just as with harvesting solar energy, earlier it used to be quite costly to effectively utilize the power of wind. Even then, the total energy that was successfully converted to electricity was hardly enough. In other words, the wind energy conversion rates were poor, but as technology have improved over the years, it has now become possible to utilize and convert wind energy at a much lower cost and a significantly higher conversion ratio.
5. To set up a power station to supply electricity in remote and secluded places at higher altitudes is not an easy job. It would require a lot of money as well as effort and even then it may take quite some time before it can even be successfully operated. This is where the utility of wind turbines are fully realized. Mountainous localities usually have an atmosphere where the wind is very strong as well being reliably consistent. Setting up a wind turbine big enough to serve the electrical needs of the entire locality would not only be cheaper in this case, but it will be much faster and perhaps even more useful as well.
6. The similarity between solar energy and wind energy is that both of them are renewable and free sources of energy; what is more interesting is that it is possible to install a system that will make both the alternative sources of energy work together to offer an even more reliable and powerful energy source. The use of such a hybrid system is not only limited to underdeveloped areas, because even in the developed areas where traditional power stations are already well set up, it could save a lot of money and non-renewable energy.
7. It is hard to believe and may even come as a surprise to someone who does not have the knowledge, but the cost of producing wind energy has become almost 80% cheaper than what it used to be twenty or thirty years ago. As the technology is still developing to make the wind mills more productive and less costly, we can almost assume that the prices will come down further and someday it might even be the cheapest alternative for electricity production in the market.
8. It is no secret that petroleum is chiefly saturated in certain geographical areas which come within the national borders of the countries that are located in that particular geographic area. This has created a certain kind of monopoly and has also raised the price of fuel quite significantly in all the countries that are dependent on it. Wind energy is something that cannot be monopolized in this way as it is free and cannot be confined within the geographical boundaries of a country either. Therefore, if in the near future, wind energy can be made more usable and more efficient, we can also hope to reduce the hiked up oil prices as well.
Of course, even after citing so many advantages, it cannot be denied that utilization of wind power has certain disadvantages like the noise pollution a turbine creates makes it impossible for the local people to live peacefully or the fluctuating wind speed which makes a wind mill unreliable. Another very unfortunate side effect of installing a wind mill is that it often costs the natural forests and wildlife near the project dearly as they lose their habitat. At the end of the day, it is hard to decide for or against setting up a wind mill power plant once the cons and pros are judged. It could however be necessary to install wind mills in certain areas and hopefully we will soon be able to find ways to harvest wind energy with even less disadvantages.
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