Globalization and technological advancement has contributed towards an increase in the number of industries in the world. In the process of production, fuel is required to run some machines; however, this fuel is a major source of pollution to the environment.
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Fossil fuels, for example, emit gases (when burnt) that are harmful to human beings and the environment at large. Kyoto protocol, which is aimed at reducing the amount of gases emitted in the atmosphere, noted that among the major emitters of green house gases is burning of fossil fuels.
To sustain production of goods and services to feed the world populations, there is need to have reliable sources of energy. Reliable sources of energy need to be renewable; they include wind energy, solar energy and hydro-energy; wind energy is a dependable source of energy although it remains the least used among the available renewable sources of energy (Burton 1-23). This paper discusses wind energy; it will look into how the energy is produced, its cost effectiveness advantage and disadvantages of using the energy.
Wind is moving air; it is caused by non-uniform distribution of heat due to solar energy in different regions, which causes movement of hot from relatively hot places to cold areas. It blows from area of high pressure to areas of low pressure. Wind has a potential of producing approximately 100 billion watts per year of power.
The technology involved in wind energy is converting kinetic energy into electric energy. Wind has kinetic energy, which rotates turbines for electricity generation. When wind is “harvested”, it can be used to produce electricity energy to be used in industries, home and in offices.
How wind energy is produced
Wind power is derived from using the kinetic energy that wind has as it blows on the earth’s service, wind is air moving from one area to another; when in movement it has some energy.
Along the way of the wind, Wind turbines are set up; the turbines are rotated by the moving air; then convert the kinetic energy in the wind to mechanical energy, the mechanical power produced at this stage can be used for various purposes that include grinding grain or pumping water. Furthermore, the energy can be converted into electricity power by the use of generator or dynamos, after the conversion, it can then be used to provide energy to homes, offices and factories.
Wind as a Cost effective source of energy
When compared with other sources of energy, wind energy is relatively cheap in maintaining the structures. To put up a wind energy generator, it uses a lot of money and resources; but to maintain the plant is cheap. This makes the net cost lower. The cost of electricity from wind is the cheapest in the world and thus companies and people can utilize the important product at an affordable cost. From an indirect approach, the following is the cost effectiveness of wind energy:
It is a renewable source of energy
The energy can be used today and in the future without reducing. The energy comes from natural occurring, which can be tapped to produce energy; the energy can be used repeatedly without limiting the potential that it has. It is also considered as clean technology since it emits minimal green house gasses. Examples of other renewable energy sources are sun, tides and waterpower. Non-renewable sources of energy on the other hand are sources of energy whose use depletes the level of utility that can be derived by future generation.
Wind energy leads to minimal or no pollution of the atmosphere, it is considered as a clean source of energy. Using of wind energy reduces emission of carbon to the environment; carbon is one of the green house emissions that lead to global warming.
Saves forests and form of sustainable development parameter
Some industries and households use firewood as their source of energy; when this happens, they lead to deforestation. Deforestation has lead to numerous challenges to human nature. They include the occurrence of hot spots; a natural depleted environment that has been of great use by the people characterizes a hotspot but through the very people’s action, they have overexploited the natural setting and leaving it to affect them negatively.
It is characterized by exceptional levels of plant endemism. Sustainable development is about caring for the present generation and not limiting future generation of use of available resources. When using wind energy people do not need to cut trees, this is good for a good life on earth.
When using fuel like firewood, then trees is cut, when the forests are destroyed then large amounts of carbon dioxide, which is the main green house gas, are released into the atmosphere, which increases global warming. Urbanization and industrialization have also played a major role in deforestation where some industries like the paper factories use wood directly from forests to make paper.
Uses of wind energy
Wind energy can be used in industries and in homes for various purposes; it is a reliable source of energy for heating, lightening and running of machinery. In manufacturing of goods and services, it is considered as one of the input costs incurred. This is in terms of lightening the factory, running of manufacturing and administrative machines and heating.
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In homes wind energy is used for lightening, running of electrical equipments like television, electric fans and electric heaters among others. It assister in making life better as people can connect to the outside world through various equipments like computers, phones, radio and telegrams which are run by electric power.
Of late, the energy has been tapped in transport industry where it is used in electric tramways, railways, and new development of electrically charged motor vehicles.
Disadvantages of using wind energy
Though the energy can be relied upon, it is not available across all parts of the world. Some areas do not have adequate supply of wind to be used to drive turbines and get the moving air energy good enough for generation of energy.
Secondly, wind energy like any other energy cannot be stored (although technology has come-up with methods of storing energy like batteries although they are only short term) ; it is used as it is produced thus the reliability of the energy is hampered by its very nature. The lack of storability means that it is possible to have some time that is needed yet the wind is not blowing.
Thirdly some places that wind pass through need to be left bare for an effective generation of energy, for instance when a massive land is used to generate wind energy, then plants like trees cannot be planted in the area, thus hampers other developmental and use of land purposes.
When the energy hampers the use of land for agriculture and planting of vegetation, it is seen to be interfering with efforts to conserve the environment. The environment needs to be protected to give live hood to humanity. Some of the big sizes of land used when the energy is produced can be used for other purposes that might be more beneficial than generation of energy (Hermann-Josef and Jyotirmay 12-56).
When a plant for generation the energy is made, it uses a big part of land that could be used for another thing like farming; this is not good for the community around there.
Wind energy as the less known used source of energy
Although wind energy is cheap and can be used for various uses, the energy is less common to other sources like water, solar and tidal energy. The main reason for this is the distribution of wind patterns and their movement, not all places have adequate amount of wind that can be used for generation of economical energy. This makes governments, firms and individuals not fully interested in tapping the energy.
When blowing on a large volume of land, it passes through property of different people and governing bodies, when the land is put on another use, they the project of wind energy tapping is hampered. The movement of wind varies with time and seasons, for this reason, depending with wind energy cannot guarantee that the supply of energy will be throughout the year. This discourages energy developers to depend with the energy fully (Wald).
Burton, Tony. Wind energy: handbook. New Jersey: John Wiley and Sons, 2001.Print.
Hermann-Josef, Wagner, and JyotirmayMathur.Introduction to wind energy systems: basics, technology and operation. Boston: Springer, 2009.Print.
Wald, Matthew. Wind Farms May Not Lower Air Pollution, Study Suggests. New York Times, 4 May 2007. Web.