Apparently, power has always been considered to be benign to environment irrespective of few reservations (Kammen 85). In this regard, there is a huge and growing controversy over how certain power generation modes have resulted to global warming, green house effects and other forms of environmental pollution.
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Currently, there emerged green technologies that are perceived to feasible in terms of environmental sustainability (Kammen 85). In this case, Wind power energy has emerged as one of the best options in which clean energy can be derived. It is imperative that most of the developed countries such as USA and European countries have adopted and established wind energy with the perception that it is clean and cost effective.
Therefore, wind energy has increasingly being adopted by large communities to cater for their varying interests. However, there is a huge controversy over whether wind power is green or not (Kammen 86). This paper aims to analyze whether wind energy is green and the impacts of contemporary issues of environment to the sustainable world.
There is a predictable expansion of demand on wind energy both at the marketing and consumer level (Elliott 46). For several decades now, wind energy has been used to run machines and mills in rural areas in places such as United States of America and Denmark (Elliott 47).
Currently, wind technology has been advanced making it more effective to reinforce electric power. Additionally, problems associated with wind energy have been minimized thus increasing the efficiency of wind machines that have been made larger and stronger (Elliott 52). Earlier on, wind energy was perceived to be environmentally unfriendly.
However, there are some limitations that have intensified complaints that wind energy is not green at all. According to research study conducted by environmentalists and energy regulators on wind energy, it has been asserted that wind turbines are likely to threaten birds and other animals (Elliott 52).
A recent case study conducted on wind revealed that wind turbines have increased mortality rate of birds and as well as individuals who inhabit such sites. Consequently, the whirling of wind turbines and tower blades often kills birds that fly around them. Notably, larger percentage of avian deaths is usually associated with increased installation of wind turbines. Such include bats and other migratory birds as it was discovered in some parts of California in 1994 (Foley 53).
Collisions of migratory birds with turbines have direct impact on their breeding success rate. Moreover, visual and noise disturbance interferes with the breeding of foraging and staging birds. However, several measures have been established to decimate cases of avian deaths. Additionally, great concern has been shown on the impact of wind energy on wildlife that inhabits near wind firms. In this case, the rotor blades on wind turbines produce a lot of noise that disturbs the animal species around wind power sites.
Another challenge associated with wind power is that it occupies large space for the infrastructure than the energy produced. Study reveals that one turbine can occupies about 1.8 hectares of land in order to generate maximum energy (Elliott 42). From this figure, one can deduce that wind firms use about 235 hectares of land to produce maximum energy required (Elliott 43).
In this case, agricultural lands have been reclaimed for power generation and this can lead to food shortage. According to further investigation on the impacts of wind energy on environment other hazards have been identified. It is apparent that insects’ species that strike turbine blades are likely to develop adverse effects. In this case, insect population inhabiting near wind mills become endangered and to some extent they become extinct.
In recent studies conducted on wind power generating sites, noise generated from turbines reduces the anesthetic nature of the environment around the firms (Elliott 45). Moreover, wind power generation poses danger to fragile ecosystem since noise and vibrations generated form the turbines has adverse effect on health.
Empirical evidence obtained from surveys indicates that people residing near wind firms have symptoms of sleep disturbances, dizziness, and head aches (Elliott 46). Such a case is also experienced by both terrestrial and aquatic animals. It is evident that vibrations that occur from turbines causes soil erosion on near ground.
Preferably, bare grounds are exposed to higher risks that those that are forested. Beside this, excavations done during installation of the mills and turbines normally trigger disturbances on the ground.
Moreover, according to majority view it is evident that wind power has negative economic impacts on investors who construct rental houses in sites near the wind firms (Elliott 48). An empirical research conducted along such sites revealed that people who rent houses tend to avoid those that are near the wind mills and turbines. This is triggered by the notion that they will be disturbed by noise.
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Due to the identified reasons, wind energy can not be considered to be green. Furthermore, the energy is unreliable and thus it can not fulfill the needs of users in a harmonious manner (Kammen 89). According to environmentalist view, green sources of energy should be reliable even in future and should cater fully for the need of users.
Evidently in the past decades, wind energy has been reinforced by other sources of power that are harmful to the environment. At some times, wind has limited strength to turn the turbines thus requires use of alternative sources of power such as fossil fuel, bioethanol and geothermal energy (Kammen 89).
Nevertheless, a large number of people have consistently shown interest in using wind energy in homes. Considerably, this form of energy growth has increased by 30% in the previous decade. Rapid expansion and use of wind power have been noted in developed countries such as Texas and USA (Elliott 45). Substantial growth and expansion of wind power energy have been fostered by several environmental factors.
Such factors include the need to decimate carbon emissions and reduce global warming. In this case, wind energy can be considered to be green as compared to other sources of energy such as fossil fuels. According to opinion surveys, a large population supports the establishment of wind power plant in their immediate neighborhood.
Approximately, 70-8-% of residents in Denmark and UK highly regards use of wind power energy (Elliott 46). Recent surveys have shown that there is an increased large scale acceptance in using the energy in India and china.
The fact that wind power energy is green lies on the basis that its environmental merits are experienced both at the national and global level. A typical example can be drawn from the use of photovoltaic cells in the form of solar energy. Although the latter is increasingly being used, it is import ant to bearing in mind that the development of photovoltaic is still under revolution and that there are some societal resources which have been redistributed.
This technology, however, requires intense labor. In some cases, the use of automatic machines to construct this device has resulted into higher production costs to the manufacturers as well as expensive purchase and installation of the component to consumers.
Another impediment in the development of photovoltaic is the high demand for basic raw substances used in the manufacturing process. This has inevitably led to escalation o prices of some items which are commonly used in its manufacture. Besides, specific quantities of materials required are not constant. They keep on changing with time making the process of production even more hectic. For example, photovoltaic cells may consume up to one hundred thousand tones of steel in a given production year.
Another likely constraint in the development of this technology is the significant quantity of energy required. Studies reveal that the production of photovoltaic cells requires an extra energy input compared to other traditional forms o f energy. This implies that photovoltaic technology is rather expensive. Nevertheless, the payback energy is presumably higher than input energy.
It is apparent that wind is a renewable source of energy and thus can be conventionally be generated without depleting the environment in any way (Elliott 43). Wind energy is a clean source of power thus it does not result to air pollution. Governments from developed states have high preference on wind power due to the increased cost of fossil fuels. Wind power is naturally available and can be regenerated without being influenced by market forces in the international market.
According to international surveys conducted on countries using wind power, it is apparent that the energy incurs low external costs as opposed to other means such as electricity and fossil fuel (Elliott 53). As a natural resource, wind is abundant and largely distributed in local areas though there exist challenges resulting from the forces of nature.
In line with this, there is no perceived evidence that wind energy results to global warming thus offering it an added advantage over other sources such as fossil fuels. Despite the fact that the demerits are experienced at the local level, overall impacts of wind power are worth of apprehension. Therefore, we can not deny the fact that wind energy is green (Kammen 90).
On the same note, environmental issues have affected the sustainability of the world in various ways. Examples of contemporary issues in the environment include global warming, green house emissions, climate change and demographic issues (www.bp.com). To begin with, climate disasters have emerged as a heavy toll on human beings when it comes to management (Kammen 92).
Unprecedentedly, large number of people has suffered from damages afflicted by climate change such as flooding, storms and drought. There is lot of tenfold in terms of cost used to rescue people from disasters. Predictably, unless effective measures are taken to decimate climate change, there is expected that irreversible damage might occur on the earth surface thus reducing sustainability of life in the world.
In line with this, global warming has increasingly impacted negatively on environment and world sustainability (www.bp.com). As a global catastrophe, it has posed danger to the fragile ecosystem. For instance, global warming has highly contributed to the extinction certain bio-species.
Irrespective of the conservation measures conducted, successes has not been fully registered at the global level. Currently, there exist scientific evidences that indicate that global temperatures have risen by 0.8% in the beginning of 20th century (Elliott 63).
For this reason, the effects are very adverse particularly in agriculture industry. Rise of global temperatures has resulted to El Nino, severe bushfires and drought. In some places, native forests, rangelands and wetlands have shrunk posing danger to the marine and alpine ecosystems. In addition to this, sea levels have risen posing danger to the coastal inhabitants (Elliott 62).
The rate of emission of green house gasses is above the potential threshold of the earth (www.bp.com). Potentially, this has caused significance imbalances and changes in the world climate. According to scientific studies conducted, it is evident that excessive emission of carbon from fossils has sharply risen since the year 2000. In fact, there was registered a 3.5% increase of carbon emissions in the same year (Kammen 85).
Considerably the world is at risk as such gases are likely to adversely model climate in future. Besides this, it is vivid that the global population rate is growing at an alarming rate posing danger to the available resources. Natural resources such as forests, rangelands and wet lands are at risk of extinction since human beings have reclaimed them for settlement purposes (www.bp.com). Nevertheless, effective measures have been taken to control the rate of population expansion in both developed and developing nations.
Globally, efforts are being put in place to decimate the impacts of such issues in the environment (www.bp.com). Recently an earth summit was established to focus on achieving sustainable world prospect. Nations have worked in partnership in order to facilitate sustainable use of natural resources and preferably the non-renewable one. On the same note, nations have made significant use of renewable resources such as wind, hydro and geothermal power.
Such sources of power are emission free and naturally available (Kammen 86). The fact that they does not get exhausted is an added advantage of eliminating factors that trigger the emergence of contemporary issues in the environment. Emergence of scientific disciplines such as environmental sciences have facilitated in creating awareness over issues surfacing on the global environment (www.bp.com). By so doing, appropriate measures have been taken to decimate environmental degradation thus creating a sustainable world.
In a broader perspective, almost every state has established regulations that will sustainably address environmental issues through agencies, corporations and use of policies (www.bp.com). To ensure a sustainable world in present and future, there are numerous sources of regulations.
Such include use of common laws, international treaties and legislations in industries to ensure that they meet the expected code of ethics. An example of international treaties includes the Kyoto Protocol that covers a wider global movement on protecting the environment (Kammen 92). It is imperative to note that the treaty targets the developed countries in order to pressure them to decimate the rate in which they emit green house gases.
To recap it all, irrespective of the demerits associated with wind power, it can be considered to be one of the benign sources of energy for use. In an attempt to minimize damages caused on both human and animal life, such states like USA and Canada have adopted rules and regulations in order to protect the remaining natural resources by use of sustainable sources of power.
In the process, this has made it possible to monitor the routine emission of gases into the atmosphere. Besides, significant efforts put in place have ensured that energy sustainability is not affected by the emerging issues of the environment.
BP. Statistical review of world energy, 12 May 2011. Web. <https://www.bp.com/en/global/corporate/energy-economics/statistical-review-of-world-energy.html>
Elliott, David. “Public Reactions to Wind farms: the Dynamics of Opinion Formation”. Energy & Environment, 5.4(1994): 40-65. Print.
Foley, John. “Boundaries for a healthy planet”. Scientific American. 2.6(2010): 53– 54.Print.
Kammen, David. “The rise of renewable energy”. Scientific American, 295.4(2006): 84- 93. Print.