In the recent couple of decades, wind energy has emerged as one of the most reliable sources of energy compared to other sources such as fossil fuel, coal and electricity. This can be attributed to reasons such as being renewable and clean source of energy. Wind energy is commonly used in developed countries such as the United States and China. It is a rare source of energy in developing countries because of the lack of advanced technology required in its production or maybe because of the costly maintenance required in production of this form of energy. However, its benefits surpass other sources of energy. This paper considers the fact that it is for this reason wind energy has become a growing and popular alternative energy, and it is one of the most reliable, cost effective, environmental friendly and clean source of power on the Earth.
Wind energy use dates back to the 1880s. It has been used since humans started utilizing wind in sailing. For decades, wind-powered machines have been greatly used in powering different type of machines used in various activities. Heir stated “the first windmill that was used in production of electricity was discovered in 1887 in Scotland. Prof James Blyth of Anderson’s College is recognized as the founder of wind energy in the form of electricity energy” (Heier 23). Blyth came up with a 10m high clothed wind turbine put in one of his garden. The turbine could be used to instill power in accumulators that were then used to produce light to his house. This became the first house in the world to have its electricity supplied by wind power. In the winter of 1887-1888, in Cleveland, Ohio, Charles F. Brush designed a larger and a heavily engineered machine (Li, Cheung, Chan, Cheng and Wong 268). This machine was in a position to produce about 12kW of electricity. The electricity energy produced from this machine was used to power bulbs and charge batteries in the Brush’s laboratory. Parallel paths have developed small wind stations that are suitable for farms and residential areas. In addition to this, lager utility-scale wind generators have come out having been connected to electricity grids for remote users. Powered generators appear in different sizes today (Heier 45). Moreover, tiny stations for battery charging at isolated residential areas to near gigawatt-sized offshore wind farms capable of producing electricity to national electrical networks have been established.
Production of wind energy requires that the targeted area of production is free from obstacle that distracts the free flow of wind into strong stream formation towards the turbines. During formation of this type of energy, wind is actually caused by the uneven heat of the atmosphere by the sun rays, and many other factors. It can be said that wind energy is a form of solar energy because it uses the heat from the sun to create wind for the wind farms to use. The wind’s kinetic energy is then changed to mechanical energy by the turbines and storage unites inside them. The actual turbines have a propeller that is moved by the wind, which causes them to turn, making energy and storing it (National Geographic). Finally, the energy in store is distributed to various fields to be used in different activities that primarily require electric energy.
There are many different types and sizes of turbines. However, they may look different and are placed in distinguished places despite the fact that they all have the same function. That is so in order to convert wind into a clean energy sources that can be used by citizens. However, small sized turbines have gained much popularity during wind production as compared to normal large turbines that were used in the past. This is evident from the Hong Kong case where "micro-turbines" have been approved in a large project for the electricity data. These turbines are different from regular ones in that “they are much smaller and lighter, but still generate the same power” (Energy.Gov). Their application is motivated by the fact that there is limited space in many countries especially in Hong Kong. Big turbines used in the past demand great spaces, hence making “Micro Turbines” to become the most preferred turbines in the production of wind energy. The problem of space has not always been the main issue because the best bit of this “micro turbines” is that they can be mounted at the top of buildings. With the new turbines in place, they located a "low density zone" that is the “perfect place to gather new data on how much energy they can produce” (National Geographic).
Wind energy is used in many countries all over the planet. It is commonly used in developed countries since they are in a position to fully fund the projects that are used in production of this type of energy. A lot of capital is required in the buying of equipment such as the turbines, wires, cables etcetera that are going to be used in its generation. Also, in order for the project to become successful, it requires the intervention of qualified personnel with adequate knowledge and experience in the production. This, therefore, calls for the presence of engineers who have majored on the same (Squire). These personnel are not available in many countries all over the world. For this reason, only countries such as the United states, China, Scotland, and Netherlands that have been in a position to utilize fully this form of energy.
There are other sources of energy that one can argue to be the most suitable source of energy when compared to wind. However, wind energy has come out to prove itself as the most suitable source of clean energy. This is for the fact that the energy is renewable. Wind is also a cheap source of energy compared to other sources such as fossil fuels. In order to generate energy from fossil fuel, “companies and government agencies have to spend a lot in funding its extraction, transportation and refining” (National Geographic). This is not to mention massive capitals used in the buying of mercenaries and paying for labor. In its harnessing, wind energy only requires that the turbines are located in positions where there is free flow of air. Less money is required for the maintenance of turbines contrary as required in maintaining refining machines that are found in refining companies. Wind energy harnessing stations do not incur a lot of transportation costs like it is in the case of harnessing coal and fossil fuels (Squire).
There are a lot of economic benefits that come along with the utilization of wind as the only source of energy in many countries all over the globe. To start with, wind stations provide a lot of employment opportunities to individuals. Engineers, who will be required to fix the machines and oversee the whole project, are good examples of those individuals who benefit from the establishment of wind energy power stations (Heier 33). Moreover, manual laborers will benefit as they will also be required in the station to attend to tasks such as loading and offloading equipment required. Secondly, the government is likely to benefit greatly from the tax it will charge these stations in form of revenues. Wind energy is efficient in remote areas where there is a lot of space. Most likely, other forms of energy have not been in a position to get into these remote areas. It is, therefore, evident that vast population in this location will benefit greatly from the establishment of such stations. Other economic benefits coming from launching of wind energy station include the fact that many enterprises will come out aiming at selling equipment to this station. Thus, this will in turn promote factories and industries producing the same equipment.
Apart from economic benefits, there are also other social advantages that come along with the establishment of wind energy production station. Nowadays, it is evident that many businesses are likely to come up as a result of distribution of wind energy especially in remote areas. Many people are likely to benefit a lot from the same. Considering that, people will be employed as a result of the stations. Their income is likely to rise, hence improving living condition. In many countries, wind plants are starting to compete favorably against other electric sources of both clean energy and regular fuel. Many commissions have determined that wind energy costs less and avoids future risk of high fuel prices. Wind farms can also be used in crop lands as well as grazing lands with no effect to the crops or the animals. Wind turbines do not use water as their source of energy, or consume any form of water, which is perfect for cities and states which are drought stricken most of the year with the exception of a few inches now and then (U.S. Dept. of Energy). Furthermore, it contributes to national security because the electricity or gain from the wind farms is being used in many cities and households all over the world. Individuals from cold regions benefit from the warmth generated by the electricity coming from wind energy.
Among all the benefits that regard wind energy, its ability to be environmental friendly makes it surpass other sources of energy. Wind power guarantees that the environment will not be polluted through combustion which is a common environmental risk from fossil fuel and coal. In this event, it makes the environment free from global warming, and makes it one of the best places where living organisms can live comfortably. Due to its ability to come from the change in atmospheric pressure, wind energy has always been clean and one of the safest source of energy. The best bit of it is that the energy is inexhaustible. Thus, there is no any one time that stations will lament of lack of wind. This is contrary to other sources of energy such as petroleum and coal. In many instances, “petroleum refining companies have complained of exhausted oil mines leading to increased prices of oil” (Songsore and Michael 289). Consequently, coal mines no longer exist in large numbers like they used to in past decades. It is, therefore, in doubt that wind energy is and still remains the most suitable source of energy to replace fossil fuels and others.
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However, it would be unfair if one would fail to mention some of the environmental risks associated to wind energy. In the first place, production of this form of energy requires sufficient environmental space within which turbines will be positioned. In this case, a lot of space that would have been used in other activities is put aside basically for wind energy production. In addition to this, turbines are associated with making a lot of noises that can be very nuisance to people living within the locality in which the energy is being produced. Lastly, while it is evident that wind energy is inexhaustible, it might occur that it has changed direction. This way, the production of energy by any particular station might be limited.
Consequently, there are a number of health risks that are associated to turbines. Individuals living around wind energy farms are prone to accidents that can be caused by the “rotational movement of the turbines” (Songsore and Michael 285). These turbines are sharp, and can cause a lot of injuries if in any case they fall on an individual. Now that this type of energy relies heavily on the intense flow of wind, the wind can cause a lot of cold related health complications such as pneumonia. However, very rare cases of accidents that were caused by turbines have been reported (U.S. Dept. of Energy). Arguing from the fact that a lot of people live few yards away from wind farms, it is only on rare circumstances that health complications will be associated with winds that come from wind power stations.
Wind energy finds many uses all over the world. As already discussed earlier in this paper, wind energy can be used in a number of ways. To start with, wind energy has been for many decades used to sail ship and boats. Many people, therefore, rely on wind to cater for their travelling expenditures as they move from one place to another with their goods. Secondly, wind energy has come out to be one of the cleanest and safest sources of energy from the fact that, it does not pollute the environment when compared to other sources such as fossil fuel and coal. It is for this reason it is being used in many towns and cities as the main source of electricity. This is to mean that it is used to produce the required power for lighting; it is also used in industries to power plant machines, and most importantly, the electricity produced from wind energy has been used to power electric trains that are used in many developing countries as the main form of transport. In early Netherlands, wind energy was used to fetch water from wells and bore holes (U.S. Dept. of Energy). These examples clearly show that wind energy has come out to be an essential form of energy that has greatly helped or rather improved people’s way of life as they handle different activities in their day to day life.
Several obstacles can be held responsible to have slowed down the implementation of wind energy in many countries all over the world. As already discussed in this paper, production of wind is costly considering that farms have to buy expensive equipment and hire qualified and experienced engineers. There is insufficient data that augments other sources of energy from an angle of being clean and environmental friendly. Another obstacle is lack of sufficient places where firms can be located. Wind energy production requires sufficient of space within where turbines will be positioned (Songsore and Michael 290). However, with the “micro turbines” used in this days space is not a big issue, furthermore the turbines can be placed on top of buildings and produce sufficient amount of energy.
The future of wind turbine is highly promising. That follows the facts that people are becoming aware of the benefits that relate to wind energy. The prices of other source of energy such as electricity and petroleum are proving to be very high (Heier 17). This is compounded by the reason that petroleum and coal mines are becoming lesser every day. This way, people may turn to wind energy since it is less costly. Now that, the world is determined to reduce activities that contribute to global warming. People will soon be required to use clean sources of energy; in this case, wind energy becomes the most suitable source of energy.
Wind energy can be improved in the following ways. First, even smaller turbines should be produced. This will ensure that the energy can easily be produced from building tops without demanding for big spaces required for the positioning of turbines. The amount of electric watts produced from wind farms must be increased. In some instances even when countries were determined to replace other sources of energy such as electricity, it has become impossible since the watts coming from wind energy stations is insufficient to cater for most of the needs in many countries.
In conclusion, it is in no doubt that wind energy has become a growing and popular alternative energy. It is one of the most reliable, cost effects, and environmentally friendly clean energy's on the Earth. It is one of the cheapest sources of energy as well. Governments should encourage a lot of youths to pursue engineering courses that relate to production of wind energy. This will be crucial in ensuring that there are many personnel who are capable of establishing wind stations. Government should also allocate sufficient funds to cater for production of this form of energy and for sensitizing the public on the benefits of wind energy when compared to other sources such as fossil fuels.