Impacts of Energy Sources

Wind Energy

The factor needed to determine the ideal location of a wind farm is enough sustained winds. The infrastructure (basic building facilities and installations) required to develop wind energy is wind turbines to make power and the electrical grid for power distribution.

Advantages of Wind Energy

Wind is available nearly everywhere, and is generally plentiful. Wind produces no air, water, or thermal pollution and does not require transport of fuels or disposal of waste products. The technology for harnessing the wind energy is well developed. Wind power may also be used to provide electricity to individual homes or buildings without a direct connection to the grid. Wind can also generate power for large numbers of people using larger turbines connected to the grid.

Given the amount of energy wind turbines capture, both the material and energy requirements for their manufacture are impressively low. If well-designed wind machines are placed at good wind power sites, electricity can be generated for as little as 10 cents per kilowatt-hour.

Disadvantages of Wind Energy

In order to harness sustained winds greater than 7 mph, larger wind farms are often located on coastlines or on mountain ridges. Some people feel that placing turbines in such places destroys the natural beauty of that location. Wind farms also require a large area (up to thousands of acres) and therefore have a large land footprint. Flying animals such as birds or bats can be killed when flying near windmills. Other possible damages to the environment include habitat destruction in the form of tree removal or changing a hillside to in order to build a turbine.

Some turbines produce noise pollution. In some locations the vibrations caused by the rotation of windmill blades has been shown to interfere with TV and cell phone reception.



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