The Benefits Of Wind Power

by Susan Banks Sr

We live in an energy conscious world today and more and more people are seeking ways to reduce carbon emissions and help protect the environment. Cutting down on fossil fuels and the use of renewable energy is a key part of protecting our planet.

Wind power has emerged as one of the most effective ways of harnessing the Earth's natural resources to produce a clean form of energy that doesn't damage our environment.

As oil prices continue to rise and pressure mounts to cut down on carbon emissions, the benefits of wind power and other alternative energy sources are becoming more and more apparent.

According to experts, wind power could meet 10 per cent of the world's electricity within 20 years, even if the amount of electricity used doubled. At present, the annual growth rate of wind power is more than 40 per cent and it should soon supply electricity to 100 million people worldwide. Europe is currently the world leader when it comes to wind power with Germany and Spain providing the most electricity through wind power. The United States is third on the list, followed by India and Denmark.

Wind power is the fastest growing source of alternative energy in the United States and around the world. Every year, more an more households get their electricity through wind power. However, this cheap and clean source of energy is still only being used to a fraction of its potential. However, this is likely to change in the next few years for a number of reasons.

Wind power is clean

The chief advantage of wind power is that it is clean. There is no smoke, no fumes, no smog and no dirty air for us to breath. A turbine simply harnesses the energy of the wind and produces electricity without producing any waste whatsoever.

Wind power can produce electricity that can be fed directly to homes and factories, replacing the power supplied by major power plants. Today, power plants are among the biggest polluters in the United States. However, a single 1-MW wind turbine can save on 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide in one year. This is the same of planting one square mile of forest. And that is just from one turbine, imagine what one hundred turbines will do to help save our environment.

Wind power is cheap

Wind is free so wind energy is cheap. In fact, it is the most competitive of all the renewable energy sources when it comes to cost and can easily rival the cost of other more tradition fuels like gas or oil.

Wind power is a relatively new technology and at the outset it was quite an expensive source of power. However, developments in the technology means that costs have reduced drastically and are continuing to fall. Meanwhile, the cost of power provide by fossil fuels is going up so wind power is likely to become the cheapest for of electricity in the near future. And once it becomes the cheapest, we can expect to see a significant rise in the number of wind farms in the United States.

Wind power is local

Wind is everywhere so there is the potential to build wind farms anywhere. Of course, some areas are better than others for harnessing wind power but the ability to have wind power as a local source of energy is a real plus. It can save on miles and miles of cabling, provide jobs and investment in local areas, and generally boost local economies.

Wind power also benefits society on a wider level. It makes for a cleaner environment which means healthier people and fewer air pollution-related medical problems. It can also be put in place quickly, cheaply and easily to deliver a reliable source of energy in a relatively short space of time.

Wider issues

The future of wind power is affected by any number of larger, global environmental and geo-political issues. With world leaders currently developing a new agreement on how the world is going to tackle climate change, a number of major changes can be expected in the world's energy supply. A move to greener, cleaner sources of energy is inevitable.

This signals a busy future for wind power. At the moment we have barely scratched the surface of this valuable resource. In the United States, wind power supplies less than 1 per cent of the country's total electricity needs. However, there is the potential to have 60 per cent of electricity supplied by wind power, and the figures are similar on a global scale.

So, in the coming years we are likely to see the number of wind farms around the world rocket as more and more countries harness this clean and cheap source of electricity.