The advantages and disadvantages of wind energy are hotly disputed these days. With global energy costs rising, and showing no sign of coming down, alternative energy sources are big news. Some people believe that wind power, and solar power, are the only way forward. Others, and this may include oil companies, are keen to play down the advantages, and point out some of the problems. So what are the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy?
Advantages of Wind Energy
- It's completely renewable - it's very unlikely that the earth will ever run out of wind! In fact, as a result of global warming, weather systems are becoming less stable, resulting in more turbulent weather. This extra wind power can be harnessed at no extra costs - existing wind turbines will simply produce more energy.
- It's simple - the technology in wind turbines is not new - it's simply been refined for a new use. In fact it's so simple that you can build your own domestic wind turbine at a reasonable cost.
- It's clean - wind turbines produce absolutely no waste whatsoever. There is obviously the one-off environmental cost of building and installing them, but once they are up and running, there are no waste products of any sort.
- There are virtually no running costs. Apart from the regular maintenance that any machine needs, a wind turbine needs very little attention. This reduces the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) of any wind generation project, and makes the generated power more cost-effective
Disadvantages of wind energy
- It's dependent on the weather. Critics point out that a wind turbine is only of any use when strong winds are blowing - in fact it can generate power at even slow speeds. It's true however that to be effective, a wind turbine has to be located on open ground where wind power is at it's greatest.
- It's unsightly - the problem with wind generators is that because of the requirements for wind, they are often sited in rural areas. Environmental campaigners find themselves split on this issue - they favor wind energy, but fear that the environment will be damaged
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Alternative Home Energy