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Advantages of Wind Energy
1) Wind is free and renewable: Wind is everywhere. It is pollution free (manufacturing and transporting the turbines causes a bit of pollution but of ignorable amounts given the amount of power generated by a wind turbine over its lifetime). Moreover, wind reduces your ecological footprint and carbon footprint, making you more environment friendly. This is indeed the greatest advantage of wind energy.
2) Availability in various sizes: With the progress in the field of super materials and modern technology, constructing smaller wind turbines with higher efficiencies has become possible. These wind turbines are around six to ten feet and can be installed on rooftops. The power generated by these turbines is enough to power the average size home.
3) Availability of power in remote areas: In places like the high mountains and remote areas where it costs a lot to install power grids, installing wind turbines provides cheap and continuous power.
4) Lifetime investment: Investing in wind energy is a lifetime investment and a one time investment. In the case of thermal power generation, you have to ensure a continuous supply of coal to generate power whereas in case of nuclear power generation, the entire power plant has to be secure and the disposal of nuclear waste includes careful supervision. Such is not the case with wind turbines that generate power.
5) Job opportunities: The advantages of wind energy don't stop with only generating power. They create lucrative job opportunities for thousands of people. Thus, it's a win-win situation to use wind energy to not only stop pollution but also create job opportunities for people too.
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DIsadvantages of Wind Energy
Generating power from wind is 100% pollution free, but along with the advantages of wind energy comes some disadvantages of wind energy.
1) Wind turbines are loud: Huge wind turbines are loud and noise is produced when the turbine rotates. Noise can be as loud as a car's engine running at 70 miles per hour.
2) Wind turbines kill birds: Yes. It is true. Wind turbines do kill birds and animal activists in many parts of the United States are angry. But have you taken a look at the statistics? Millions of birds are killed by cats and other animals; more than a hundred million birds are killed when they sit on power lines; pesticides kill another hundred million, and automobiles contribute to around fifty million deaths per year. The number of birds killed by consuming toxins and waste released by various industries and incidents like the "Deep Water Horizon Oil Spill" are not even considered in these statistics.
Compared to these numbers, the number of birds killed by wind turbines ranges from 10,000 to 40,000 which is comparatively a small number. Those who are trying to stop people installing wind turbines because of this reason should think again. The bird factor alone has proved to be a major disadvantage in ways to generate power by tapping wind energy.
3) Size of the wind turbines: Wind turbines come in all sizes but not in the size of a table fan that generate less electricity. It has to be of somewhat moderate size to power basic appliances and a few lights within a home. This is one of the greatest drawbacks in the ways to tap wind energy and has paved the way for an increased number of appliances running on solar energy that do not require as much space as a wind turbine occupies.
4) Initial installation cost: The installation cost to install huge wind turbines does cost a fortune, but over a year or two, the power generated by the wind turbines is tallied to the money you spent in installing the wind turbine. Moreover, the maintenance cost (when compared to other power generating methods) is less and this saves more money.
5) Cannot be installed everywhere: Unlike solar cells that do not require a lot of space to generate a considerable amount of energy, a little homework has to be done when wind turbines are installed. The climatic condition and the direction of wind throughout the year should be seriously considered to get the most out of the wind turbine.
Even considering the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy, this power source is still considered a way to save valuable energy resources.
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1) Treehugger - http://www.treehugger.com/files/2006/04/common_misconce.php
2) Technology Student - http://www.technologystudent.com/energy1/wind8.htm
Image Credit: MorgueFile/kconnors