In the race for renewable energy, wind farms stand out as an ideal solution but are they really as “green” as they’re made out to be? The answer is that there is no perfect energy source; wind farms, however, do come pretty close. Let’s take a look at some important facts and figures about wind-generated energy so you can decide for yourself if a field of turbines is the energy saving solution you’ve been looking for.
Energy Saving With Wind
Regardless of how you feel about the actual turbines, wind farms have phenomenal energy generating potential. One average sized turbine can produce enough energy to power up to 300 homes. The largest turbines can produce enough energy to power up to 600 homes.
Wind farms, in fact, have incredible potential for energy production. Some experts believe the potential to be more than 400 TW (terawatts). Currently, the amount of energy produced by wind farms around the world adds up to around 65,000,000,000 kWh annually but demand is growing and the wind farm industry is growing by about 25% annually. As the demand – and the availability of new technology – increases, so the cost of setting up a wind farm decreases.
Wind is literally a free and infinitely renewable resource and it is completely clean. Granted, the actual manufacture of the turbines does have a minor carbon footprint (mitigated after nine months), but once they’re up and running, wind farms do not contribute to emissions or heavy metal pollution levels. Another plus is that wind farms tend to have low long-term operational costs. Also there are no mining, drilling, fracking or transportation costs involved.
Wind farms can be placed just about anywhere there is enough space to accommodate the turbines; onshore or offshore. Not only do they have the potential to create clean energy but wind farms can potentially create up to 30% more jobs than a coal plant and up to 66% more jobs than a nuclear power station per unit of energy generated.
4 Downsides to Wind Energy
While the advantages of wind farms tend to be globalized, the disadvantages are usually localized.
1.Too ugly: One common complaint is the aesthetic disruption to the landscape. As wind farms are typically constructed in rural areas, some feel they’re an unsightly blight on the natural beauty of these areas. To counter this, the turbines can be arranged in a pleasing pattern or painted in a neutral colour.
2.Too noisy: Turbines have also received negative press for the swishing sound they make. Industry innovators continue to address this issue and today’s turbines are far less noisy than their predecessors, and may become even quieter in future.
3.Too dangerous: Another argument that has been raised against wind farms is the number of birds killed by turbines over the course of a year. While this was true of the first generation wind farms back in the eighties, turbines today spin at much slower speeds – approximately 15 revolutions per minute – and are mounted on smooth poles (as opposed to the original lattice-style frameworks), considerably reducing their threat to the local birdlife. Care is also taken to position the turbines out of known flight paths. And when compared with the number of deaths due to overhead power cables, domestic cats and loss of habitat, the environmental benefits of wind farms far outweigh the minimal loss of birdlife.
4.Too unpredictable: Unpredictability, though, is probably the biggest disadvantage to wind-generated energy. Wind is not a reliable resource making wind farms unsuitable as a base load energy source. Until such time as we have developed cost-effective energy storage solutions, wind farms do need to be used in conjunction with at least one other energy source. And despite the fact that technological advancements have decreased the price tag on modern turbines, the cost-competitiveness of wind farms is presently not yet quite comparable with established, traditional energy sources.
Next Level Energy Saving
Naturally, ensuring your home is as energy efficient as possible means you can expect to use less power, no matter if it is generated renewably. One highly effective manner in which you can make saving energy so much easier is by insulating your roof, wall installation, hot water pipes and geyser insulation. Take it to the next level by using ISOTHERM Thermal Insulation. Manufactured from the thermally-bonded polyester of recycled plastic PET bottles, ISOTHERM is a truly environmentally-friendly product. And it makes a major difference to the passive energy control in your home or workplace, keeping your property cool in summer and warm in winter.
While wind-generated energy still has some ground to cover as far as development and implementation are concerned, it is about the best alternative transitional energy source currently available to us, and undeniably an excellent way to diversify our energy production portfolio. Wind farms have the potential to boost local economies and produce clean and affordable energy making them a cornerstone of a sustainable and energy saving future.