Wind Energy – A Way for the Future?

Apr 13, 2009

The way to reduce our energy demand, according to experts, is to utilize wind energy as a standard versus being a supplemental energy supply. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the United States has enough wind power to generate electricity for every home and business in the country.

U.S. offshore areas hold the most promising potential of wind energy development for large metropolitan areas according to Department of Interior Secretary Ken Salazar. Along the Atlantic coast alone theNational Renewable Energy Lab has identified more than 1000 gigawatts of wind power and more than 900 gigawatts along the Pacific coast. With the two coasts combined The Lab estimates that this wind power exceeds the entire U.S. electricity demand.

 

Advantages to Wind Energy:

  • It’s a clean energy source and does not pollute the air like power plants do.
  • It’s a domestic source of energy.
  • Wind is a constant renewable energy source.
  • Low cost – it costs between four and six cents per kilowatt-hour, depending on the wind resource and project financing.
  • Wind turbines can be built wherever the best wind source is available including rural areas.

 

Disadvantages of Wind Energy:

  • Competition on cost with typical energy sources. The cost of wind energy has a higher start-up cost than fossil-fueled generators and is dependent on how energetic the wind energy is in a location.
  • Wind energy cannot be stored so if the wind is intermittent or not constant, then there will be a break of electric availability.
  • Often the distance of good wind sites are located far from major cities where electricity is needed.
  • Wind energy development is in competition with other development projects that require those areas that are good wind sites.
  • There is some concern over noise pollution from the rotor blades, aesthetic impacts on the landscape and wildlife safety.

 

Homeowners can research installing their own wind energy system on their property. In doing so they can reduce pollution, reduce their exposure to future power shortages and price increases. There are several factors to consider so be sure to research it extensively to make the best, most informed decision possible for your unique situation. The U.S. Department of Energy has an excellent overview of what to research and where to begin.

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