When compared to fossil fuels, wind energy offers numerous advantages. There are also certain challenges that the wind energy industry faces when going up against fossil fuel energy. Here are some of the key points to consider.
How Wind Energy Has an Advantage
1. It can be a domestic energy source.
In the past decade, the capacity of wind energy in the United States has increased at an average of 30% annually. When implemented in any country, it can be a domestic energy source that creates energy independence for that nation.
2. It is a clean source of energy.
Once the equipment has been manufactured, wind energy has a much lower air pollution presence than fossil fuel plants. This is because there isn’t a reliance on combustion to create the energy.
3. It is sustainable.
In some ways, wind energy is really another form of solar energy. Because wind is created by the sun heating up the atmosphere, surface irregularities, and the planet’s rotation, it will always be present in some way.
4. It can be built virtually anywhere.
This includes current croplands, farm lands, and ranches. Wind energy has a very low space footprint, allowing for land activities to occur around the turbines with ease.
How Wind Energy Has Disadvantages
1. It must compete with fossil fuels on a cost basis.
Wind energy is not always cost-competitive to fossil fuels. The cost of wind energy has decreased over the past decade, sometimes costing just $0.04-$0.06 per kilowatt hour in some locations. Not every region has experienced these cost benefits, so fossil fuels may still be cheaper.
2. It requires added infrastructure.
Many of the best wind collection areas are in rural areas. This means added infrastructure must be installed so the energy collected from the wind can be distributed to homes.
3. It may not be the most profitable solution.
Many areas that are suitable for wind collection are also suitable for other purposes. Depending on local circumstances, wind energy may be a less profitable use of that land.
4. It still pollutes.
Wind turbines can be noisy. They can impact aviary life. Their size can also be considered a form of “aesthetic” pollution.
In the wind energy vs fossil fuels debate, we must look at more than just the renewable aspect of the wind to determine its full value when compared to traditional forms of energy production. When we do this, it becomes possible to make an empowered decision about wind energy.