Low impact on the environment
The environmental impact of wind energy is relatively low compared to other types of energy production, which makes this type of energy more environmentally friendly. Compared to fossil fuels, wind energy generates less pollution than other forms of energy production, which results in reduced air emissions. However, there are some downsides to wind energy, including clearing of land for a wind energy plant. As with fossil fuels, wind farms require clearing of land for transmission lines.
Another advantage of wind energy is that the energy produced is clean. Wind turbines produce no pollutants and don’t contribute to mercury contamination in lakes and streams. Another advantage is that wind supply is plentiful. In the United States, the total capacity of wind power is increasing at a rate of about 15% annually, and wind power is the most prevalent renewable energy source in the country. As a result, the environmental benefits of wind energy can be measured and quantified in several ways.
One of the main disadvantages of wind energy is its visible impact on landscapes. Modern turbines cannot be completely screened from view. Opponents often object to wind turbines based on aesthetic concerns. However, there are standardized aesthetic impact assessments for wind-energy projects, but these methods are often misunderstood and poorly implemented. The methods also need to be customized to evaluate wind-energy projects with unique characteristics.
Wind energy is an excellent renewable source of power that has a low environmental impact. Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of wind into usable electricity that is used in many applications including homes, pumps, grain mills, and more. It also produces zero pollution and does not contribute to acid rain or climate change. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, wind energy is projected to prevent the emissions of up to 12.3 gigatons of greenhouse gases by the year 2050.
Another advantage of wind energy is that it does not require a combustion process to produce electricity. It does not require any fuel or power connection, which reduces the cost of operating large wind farms. Another advantage is that wind turbines are relatively cheap to build and maintain. Wind farms are best constructed in areas with strong air currents, since those with weak winds are less likely to generate enough electricity for their needs. A wind turbine can also be expensive to install, so they are often constructed in remote areas, where wind is more intense. Moreover, solar panels are a great financial investment for homeowners.
In the United States alone, nearly 70,000 wind turbines are currently producing clean power. Their combined capacity is equal to the equivalent of 43 million homes. Wind energy has the potential to unlock economic growth by reducing our national reliance on dirty fuels. In the past decade, wind energy has contributed over $15 billion to the economy. By the year 2021, the industry is expected to generate an additional $20 billion in investment. Wind energy also prevents emissions equivalent to 71 million cars and saves about three-quarters of a billion metric tons of CO2 annually.
Compared to coal or gas, low-cost wind energy is the way to go if you want to generate electricity without incurring huge costs. Its installation costs are relatively low – a 2-MW wind turbine costs about $3.5 million, while one kWh of electricity generated from it costs less than 0.00175 barrel of oil. The average U.S. consumer pays about 12 cents per kilowatt-hour.
The price per kilowatt-hour generated is calculated by dividing the cost of constructing a wind farm by its total output over its lifetime. The result is an Energy Return on Energy Invested (EROEI) of about 20-25 percent. Payback time is typically around a year. As wind turbine technology improves, O&M costs decrease as well. For smaller wind turbines, O&M costs are roughly $40,000.
For a 1000-MW wind farm, the estimated cost of energy will be less than five cents per kilowatt-hour. This is an example of low-cost wind energy production in rural areas. A 1000-MW wind farm can generate up to 2,630,000 MW-hours a year at 30% capacity factor. The annual variation is not as large. However, it is important to note that this amount of electricity represents a significant savings compared to a 1000-MW oil-fired power plant.