Wind Energy

Aditya, Anjali, Richard, Varun

General Information

Renewable energy is an energy source that uses resources which are naturally replenished within a human lifetime. The energy source must have a minimal negative impact on the environment and have very little to no greenhouse gas emissions. It must have no drain on non renewable resources. It must help to reduce the overall impact that humanity has had on habitats and the climate. The source of the energy must be safe to the surrounding population, both human and non-human, and not present any future risks. One kind of renewable energy source is wind energy because it meets these requirements.

- At the end of 2012, there were more than 225 000 functional wind turbines in the world

- By the end of 2013, wind energy had increased in usage by 12.5%

- By June of 2014, wind energy provided 4% of the entire world's energy

- Wind energy produces more than 300 000 MW of energy per year globally

- An industrial sized wind turbine is estimated to eliminate 1500 tons of CO2, 6.5 tons of SO2, 3.2 tons of NO and 60 pounds of mercury.

Social Effects

Wind energy, like all the other kinds of energies has a whole variety of effects on our society, some that are positive and some that are negative social effects.

Positive Effects

- Lots of jobs are created; there are currently over 600 000 people working in the wind industry and this is expected to 2.6 million by 2030

- A renewable energy source such as wind allows for much greater control of a country's energy source as the country can stop relying on non-renewable energy sources such as fossil fuels

- As the source of the energy is free and abundant, energy prices will not fluctuate

- Due to the reduced carbon emissions from using wind power, there are expected improvements in health and living standards

Negative Effects

- If a wind turbine is built within 400m of a residential area, the noise from the turbine could be irritating to the inhabitants

- Wind turbines aesthetically fit into a city or coast's skyline, they do not look as pleasing in rural areas though as they stick out amongst all the flat ground and low height buildings.

Benefits and Cons

Since wind energy was first harnessed by man as a source of power, it has provided great benefits for society as a whole but it has also come with its own share of cons as well.

The Benefits

- Wind turbines can be built in almost any location as they do not require much space allowing the land around them to be used

- Wind turbines have a minimal impact on the land that the're placed on so they aren't a permanent fixture

- There is no pollution produced when a windmill is producing energy

- Wind energy is sustainable as it requires only wind and that is an everlasting thing that we have on Earth

- From all of the renewable energy sources, it is one of the cheapest

- Landowners get paid rent up to $5000 per windmill that they have on their land

- Production, installation and maintenance of wind turbines provides thousands of jobs

- Cheaper to produce as it only costs 4 - 6¢/kWh

The Cons

As much as wind energy has its benefits, it also has its cons, but due to advancements in technology, we also have solutions for these cons.

- Birds have a risk of flying into windmills so a solution is to place a new style turbine as it can replace 10-15 old style turbines. In addition, only 0.01% of bird deaths are caused by wind turbines

- Moving parts of any kind will eventually need maintenance but advancements in the technology involved in wind turbines have made turbines less likely to break down

- It is expensive to build but it is cheaper than alternative such as solar power as that costs $800 00 for 100 kW and wind costs $300 000 for 100 kW

- Wind turbines can be great factors for noise pollution but new advancements in technology have reduced the sound levels

- The classic style of wind turbines emit an infrasonic sound but this is solved by the creation of the upwind turbine

- No matter what source of energy is chosen, the technology needed to produce it will look aesthetically bad but the new vertical axis turbines are pleasing to look at

Chemistry stse