The US runs on energy from non-renewable sources, with coal, natural gas, and oil providing the majority of the nation’s energy. Researchers hypothesize these resources will diminish completely within 50 to 200 years.
However, there is access to a renewable source that is both plentiful and free: wind.
Wind power is an ideal and convenient go-to for energy, but there are pros and cons of wind energy homeowners. Many feel the cons outweigh the benefits.
But do you want the truth? Wind power has more benefits than you think. We’ll show you why.
The Pros and Cons of Wind Energy
Wind energy has long been seen as a source of power. In fact, the first windmill used for electricity production was created in 1887 in Glasgow.
Since then, wind-generated power has captured the attention of researchers, environmentalists, and businesses as a potential resource.
But everything has its benefits and disadvantages. So let’s start with the cons.
There are several clear disadvantages to wind energy.
1. Back-Up Energy
For individuals or businesses who live in areas with sporadic winds, a form of backup energy may be necessary.
Wind relies on temperature and air pressure for creation. Because the wind isn’t always present to create and/or store enough electricity for use, some individuals will have to rely on electricity from non-renewable sources for power.
For some, this is an extra expense and an unwanted strain on the environment.
Experts are working hard to overcome this difficulty by focusing their efforts on increasing the efficiency of wind farms. However, it’s expected this trial may not be completely overcome for some time.
2. Initial Expense
Many potential windmill users also shrink away due to the initial cost.
Prices vary from $10,000 to $100,000, but the average cost of a wind turbine to power a residential home was $30,000 in 2014. Although that price is quickly decreasing, it’s a hefty sum to provide upfront.
But don’t worry; as you’ll see soon, the upfront cost is more than worth it.
3. City Restrictions
Zoning restrictions can also be troublesome for home or business owners hoping to invest in wind energy. Many city ordinances do not allow wind turbines in certain areas.
In fact, some locations only allow these structures in agricultural districts. For cities that do permit them within city limits, there are often strict guidelines that must be followed.
4. Space and Aesthetics
Some people love how wind turbines look. Others hate it.
Although many things can be done to improve aesthetics, those considering wind turbines must understand the volume of space these structures require. The amount of land needed depends on how much electricity is required for your household or business.
Some individuals will need very little land for a turbine. Others may need well over an acre.
Further, residential turbines must be 500 feet away from and/or 30 feet above any obstructions, meaning some planning and foresight is required for installation.
Yet even with these few disadvantages, wind power remains one of the best resources for our needs.
1. Clean Power
The power received from wind turbines is clean. It doesn’t pollute the environment.
Fossil fuels, on the other hand, rely on combustion to be usable. As a result, they pollute the air, contributing to a steadily-decreasing air quality, global warming, and other hazards.
Wind energy is also renewable. It won’t disappear anytime soon and it doesn’t require we deplete what few remaining sources we have.
In contrast, fossil fuels are disappearing at an alarming rate.
By installing a turbine, individuals get ahead of the game. When fossil fuels become scarce, they will have a dependable energy source to fall back on.
Likewise, if emergencies occur, a source of power remains available.
While it’s an excellent choice to support and protect the environment, it’s difficult to do with strict budgets. Yet wind power is becoming increasingly cheaper.
In fact, if individuals take advantage of long-term contracts with companies utilizing wind energy, they pay half (or less) the cost of working with electricity from a natural gas power plant.
Let’s put that into perspective: on average, US consumers pay 12 cents per kilowatt-hour for electric. Recent advancements in wind energy coupled with long-term contracts reduce that amount to 2 cents per kilowatt-hour.
What happens if your turbine produces more electricity than you use? The answer is one of the best parts of wind energy.
You get credits for it.
Most states allow homeowners producing excess electricity to have credits added to their electricity bills. That means if you are paid for it.
This offer, referred to as net metering, usually extends to commercial and industrial owners as well.
Wind turbines require little maintenance, and their parts last for long periods. In fact, the average lifespan of a small, domestic turbine is 20 years.
The US Department of Energy points out that annual maintenance includes:
- Tightening bolts and connections
- Checking for corrosion
- Replacing worn tape on the blades
The blades themselves last for a decade or more.
6. Job and Economic Growth
In addition to helping the environment and minimizing your electric bill, investing in wind turbines also helps the economy.
Over 100,000 jobs were created in 2016 alone because of this industry. And it’s growing at increased rates.
Recent innovations are driving the costs related to wind down, meaning more companies, universities, and individuals are signing contracts for this type of energy.
It’s a growing sector that is only going to get larger.
7. Innovations in Efficiency
If you’re worried wind won’t produce the energy you need at the rate you need it, don’t be. Recent advancements are making turbines more efficient than ever, and residents and business owners alike can take advantage of the new technology.
In a few words, wind power is becoming more efficient and less expensive.
Get Blown Away
Although there are clear pros and cons of wind energy, the advantages heavily outweigh the disadvantages. This clean source of energy is creating jobs, reducing bills and getting more efficient by the year.
But that’s not all that’s interesting about wind energy.
Are you ready to get blown away? Then read about some mind-blowing wind energy facts and be prepared to sail away on the breeze.