Pros and Cons of Wind Power
Pros and Cons of Wind Power: Why It MattersFossil fuels like coal, petroleum and natural gas better watch out. Earlier this year, wind power provided half of the electricity on a United States grid for the first time ever.
From pumping water to supplying electricity to residential homes, wind power is becoming a more common renewable resource.
Although an amazing accomplishment for renewable resources, there are some drawbacks to this energy alternative. Here’s a look at the pros and cons of wind power.
Wind Energy Advantages
Wind energy offers many advantages because it is a free, clean, renewable resource that occurs naturally. Some of the advantages include:
- Stable energy prices. Wind energy costs won’t fluctuate based on supply over time, as the natural resource itself will always be available.
- Little to no pollution. Wind energy only emits 0.02 to 0.04 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour (CO2E/kWh), compared to burning natural gas for electricity, which produces between 0.6 and 2 pounds CO2E/kWh.
- More jobs. Wind energy could create more than 600,000 jobs by 2025.
- Low operational cost. A comparison of wind energy and fossil fuel costs nationally is difficult since prices vary by location. However, the megawatt-hour cost of wind in the Great Plains region is $20, while coal costs $30.
Wind Energy Disadvantages
Although wind energy advantages are more apparent than disadvantages, the cons can help you make an educated decision on whether this energy source is a viable option for your business. Some factors that hinder the process include:
- Reliance on weather conditions. For wind energy to be most effective, it needs consistent wind. This can be a concern for parts of the country that don’t have the right conditions for energy generation
Land requirements. To produce energy on a large scale, a massive amount of land is required for wind farm installations.
- Worker safety. Operating and maintaining wind turbines can be dangerous. Incidents involve falls, severe burns from electrical shocks and fires.
- Expensive set up and maintenance. The cost for a commercial wind turbine can range from $1.3 million to $2.2 million per megawatt (MW). A majority of commercial turbines are 2 MW and cost between $3 million to $4 million to be installed. The cost of a wind turbine to power a residential home on average is $30,000, but can cost as much as $70,000 depending on the system’s size.
Why it Matters
As wind power becomes a more probable and popular energy form, contractors must educate themselves about the pros and cons of switching to alternative energy options.
Energy developments introduce new market opportunities for contractors and other industry professionals, especially as consumer demand for eco-friendly solutions increases. Wind turbine installation or repair could prove valuable skills as consumer preference shifts from fossil fuels to alternative energy sources.