The development of any economy heavily depends on energy supply. However, it creates problems due to the impact of energy production on climate change (Lucian, n.d.). Wind is an essential source of sustainable energy and it does not emit pollutants.
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Most governments are aware of the impact of global climate changes on humans, animals, vegetation and the environment. Thus, they have opted to support renewable energy. In fact, frameworks to support the initiative have been developed in different locations. These frameworks require commitment by governments and all other stakeholders.
Wind energy is one of the various forms of sustainable energy sources. It affords security and sustainability at the local, national and regional consumer energy market. When a country taps wind energy, the dependency on foreign fossil fuels including coal and natural gases is significantly reduced.
Increase in fuel prices and other unforeseen sources of disruptions in supply of fossil fuel minimally impact on national economy (Gipe, 1993). This essay explores wind energy to identify various aspects of this energy source. These aspects include the advantages, disadvantages and the general view of energy from academic and professional perspectives.
The power of wind can be converted into electrical and mechanical energy. It can be used to pump water when the correct combination of equipment is used, propel ships or generate electricity for use in homes and industries. Big wind farms comprise of many wind turbines. The turbines are then linked to the transmission network. The energy produced here is sufficient to run a big manufacturing plant. However, smaller turbines can produce sufficient electricity for domestic use (Archer & Jacobson, 2007).
The earliest use of wind energy was in Persia where it was used to power a machine. The windmill would be used for pumping sea water for making salt. They were also useful in grinding cereals. In the United States, water-pumping windmill permitted animal farming and irrigation in areas where water was not freely available. Other conventional sources are destructive to the environment. Additionally, these sources are decreasing and will be exhausted over years.
As a renewable energy resource, wind power guarantees the human race a stable source of electricity for centuries. In consideration that most conventional resources will be exhausted over time, it is essential for humankind to develop technology that enables maximum utilization of this inexhaustible resource.
Fossil fuel resources such as gas and coal will at some point be exhausted no matter how many generations it will take. In fact, before the discovery of storing electrical energy in cells, wind energy was used for thousands of years to steer sailboats and sail ships. Modernly, with technological application wind energy can still be used to drive large ships. Turbines can be fixed atop the ship and the same concept used in wind farms applied to produce electricity in the ship (Fthenakis & Kim, 2009).
Contemporarily, there are more than 155,000 wind turbines erected globally in more than 95 countries. The renewable source of energy presents the opportunity to conserve the ecosystem while preserving conventional energies for technologies that must use these conventional energies.
The power of fast moving air creates a form of viable energy. Naturally, the sun does not heat the earth surface equally. The equator tends to receive more heat energy than the poles due to the proximity to the sun. Similarly, dry earth surfaces absorb and release sun heat faster than water bodies and vegetated areas (Niciporuc, 2012). The differences in temperatures lead to the flow of air from cold areas to fill warm or hot areas.
The moving air can be tapped to rotate turbines proficient in the generation of electricity. The most apt locations for erecting turbines for tapping wind are the high altitude areas that are open including surroundings that are devoid of buildings or trees. Areas close to large water bodies are also appropriate as wind usually blows with more force.
Energy and climate change
Most of the traditional sources of energy pollute the environment contributing to global climate change. In contrast to these sources particularly fossil fuel energies, wind energy does not emit toxic wastes. It does not account for even the smallest amount of pollutants and carbon dioxide emissions. That is, it is friendly to the ecosystem. Other conventional energies emit substantial amounts of carbon dioxides that have far-reaching negative impacts on the ecosystem.
Renewable and free source
Wind energy is renewable and practically inexhaustible. All renewable energies will be in existence so long as the sun shines. Scientists project this to about five billion years. Besides, if this is to happen then the earth will be dilapidated long before that time. In addition, this source of energy is virtually free of charge. T
he only costs to be met in producing wind energy is the cost of equipment for harnessing wind, wind turbines for converting the energy and photovoltaic panels for storing energy. Contemporary technologies are making the production cost of wind energy cheaper. The advantage is effectively passed to the consumer. The plants once established present employment opportunities to the community.
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Moreover, individuals’ lifestyle is improved and national economy is boosted. The cost of wind energy compared to conventional energies is comparatively stable. This owes to the fact that wind energy does not involve the increasingly fluctuating cost of fuel. Most oil and gas-fired power generation plants encounter huge operating costs.
The space required for the construction of facilities used for the production of conventional energies is huge compared to that required for establishing a wind energy production plant. Despite the fact that wind farms occupy big chunks of land, the turbine towers only take a small space which in most cases entails a few meters for the base. Considerable space is left for utilization in other methods around the turbines. The area can be used for cultivation or animal farming (Alina-Florentina, 2012).
Despite the many advantages of wind energy with regard to costs and prevention of climate change, there are several drawbacks that create inconveniences. One hindrance is the fluctuating speed of wind. In fact, the speed of wind is determined by a number of factors including the intensity of sun. This means that there may be limited supply of wind energy when the speed of wind is low which may impact on the activities in the manufacturing plants and lighting in homes.
In addition, there are few suitable locations where huge turbines can be erected to produce electricity sufficient to run a national economy. Ecologically, wind energy production plants can be destructive to the ecological system. Typically, the blades that harness wind have sharp edges. These edges are lethal for birds and bats during migration. Migratory birds may find their trajectory to such plants (Subramanian, 2012).
The turbines used for producing wind energy produce irritating noise and vibrations. When erected near residential areas they affect the occupants. In the United States, there have been court cases against wind energy producers. The complainants claim that noise pollution leads to the devaluation of their property thus effectively driving away potential investors.
The equipment used for generating electricity is simple. Wind rotates blades attached to a pivot in the turbine. A rotating shaft is connected to the pivot while the shaft is passed through a gear box to increase the rotating speed. The high speed shaft is then connected to a generator that produces electricity. In order to mitigate the damaging of blades when the speed of wind is very high, the turbine is fixed with a braking system (Goldstein, 2013).
Wind power is an efficient, viable and reliable source of electricity for domestic and industrial use. The energy is ecosystem-friendly. In the production of this form of energy, no carbon dioxide is produced. It is among the cleanest means of producing electricity. Depending on the speed of wind in a specific region, the power generated can run a huge manufacturing plant.
Wind energy is an appropriate alternative to the reduction and destructive fossil fuel energies. Extensive use of wind energy will reduce the impact of conventional energy on climate change. Thus, to minimize pollution through greenhouse emissions, protect environment and prevent climate change, it is essential for the stakeholders to invest in wind energy.
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