Everything You Need To Know About Wind Power Pros And Cons

Understanding wind power pros and cons is necessary before you consider spending any money on wind power facilities for use at your home.

The wind is a wonderful, free, natural resource that offers many advantages. Wind power benefits have been enjoyed for centuries but it is in only in relatively recent times that more sophisticated and technically efficient wind turbines, both large and small, have blossomed all over the world.

However, the recent development and growth of wind power technology around the world has also highlighted the disadvantages associated with wind power.

So let's examine the advantages and disadvantages of wind power so that we get a good grasp of all the issues...

Wind Power Pros

  • The wind is a readily available, renewable energy source that can be used to generate electricity for household use.
  • Using the wind to produce electrical energy is a clean process that does not result in environmental pollution.
  • Adding electricity generated from the wind into the national grids results in the lowering of CO2 levels – an important plus in the fight against global warming.
  • Wind power can be used in both community and individual situations where wind farms provide power for the total grid or a single turbine can assist with powering a home or even feeding excess power into the grid.
  • Wind is produced locally and so the electricity generated requires no importing of fuel materials, which is good for local economies.
  • The production, installation and maintenance of wind turbines creates jobs.
  • Wind power can be used in remote locations, far removed from access to traditional sources of electricity.

Wind Power Cons

  • For some people, the appearance is an issue because of the effect on local landscapes.
  • Wind turbines can experience damage through lightning strikes, largely because of their tall, thin shape. They can also self-destruct in high winds, although they are meant to have automatic cut-outs once the wind speed reaches a certain speed.
  • Turbines sited in or near natural habitats cause damage to birds, bats and wildlife and this has been well documented, although it is worth noting that many more birds and bats are killed as a result of fossil-fuelled plants, household cats and collisions with tall buildings than through wind turbines. Nevertheless it is an issue. There is an argument put forward that the introduction of vertical axis wind turbines helps negate this factor. Read more about these turbines by visiting our page on Vertical Axis Wind Turbines.
  • Noise is also said to be a factor, although the writer lives within 500 metres (about a third of a mile) from a large commercial wind turbine(one of a bank of five) and the noise is definitely not a problem. However, very large wind farms situated close to urban populations have created a long list of complaints relating to health problems. The problems are said to be noise-related , not so much with direct noise, but more with vibration. The health problems include dizziness, difficulty in sleeping, heart palpitations, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears). Studies in this area are still in their infancy, but to date, investigations have failed to validate thse assertions.

    Obviously, a number of domestic wind turbines installed on houses in a highly populated area might well pose a direct noise problem. Small wind turbines in high winds can be very noisy indeed.

  • Inconsistent wind speeds is another issue, where you may have lengthy periods of "no wind".
  • Wind availability and wind speed also varies from location to location.
  • Wind turbines can interfere with television reception, depending on the direction of the wind.
  • The cost of power produced by the wind, compared to conventional sources such as coal, oil or gas, has always been a downside, although those costs are coming down as the technology evolves and production becomes more efficient.
  • Manufacturers and marketers tend to provide misleading information about performance. They always stress the rated power of the turbine which is hardly ever achieved in practice. In fact, the actual performance is often in the range of 15-25% of rated power.

Despite some significant issues regarding the widespread development of wind power, the development continues apace, all round the world. And we would hasten to add... and rightly so!

Better education for government policy makers and politicians is vital. That needs to be coupled with less posturing and pretending by both pro and anti-wind campaigners.

To return to our theme of installing wind power facilities in your own home, understanding the wind power pros and cons is very important. Some of the issues related to large wind farms will not apply to you but it is critical to understand that whatever the rated capacity of a wind turbine is, the actual energy produced will be far less, depending on location. For more details on this please go to Wind Power Facts

If you are considering installing a wind turbine for use at your home then you definitely need to visit our Wind Power For Homes page.

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