Wind energy is a healthy, clean and green source of energy. It is not that this is a new resource that has come up as a solution to the rising cost of the traditional sources of energy, as it had been existent since the 1800s when the first micro wind turbines were installed in the US. However, it is more recently that the potential of wind energy has been renewed thereby attracting interest of various countries to harness this natural renewable energy source.
Installation of the micro wind turbines is guided by three considerations as to whether it can fulfillment of the energy requirements of individual homes, public places, farms or small businesses. These considerations are the availability of ample space for the tower and the turbine, the existing utility cost and the predictable wind at the location. Micro wind turbines may be used as stand alone system or work concurrently with an existing electricity provider. However, whether the installation of the micro wind turbines is favorable or not is guided by the wind power pros and cons which are explained below:
Pros of the wind power energy
• Wind power is free and abundant: Wind is generated when the sun heats the earth’s surface causing the hot air to rise and cold air to fill the void. Therefore, as long as there is the sun, the earth will have wind. As a raw source of energy, wind power is free and if harnessed properly it can produce more energy than the supply from all power sources combined.
• Wind power is “green” and clean: The wind power generated is clean and non-polluting unlike the traditional sources of power output that burn fossil fuels causing the emanation of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the environment. Moreover, it saves billions of gallons of water, which is used to produce the required electricity by the traditional process.
• Integration with the electrical grids: Wind energy can work concurrently with the electrical grids thereby flowing with the equation of demand and supply. The excess power can be stored in the batteries while any shortage can be fulfilled by the grid.
• Reduces dependency on oil: Oil, as we know, is not free and abundant, which means there would be a time when there would be no oil. Therefore, use of wind energy reduces the dependency on oil while creating a separate sector providing jobs to thousands of people.
Cons of wind power energy
• Unpredictable: The unpredictability of the wind is the first drawback when considering wind power as a reliable source of energy. The stand alone option is specifically not viable considering this aspect.
• Location is critical: Since the micro wind turbines need an average speed of more than 10 MPH, the places having the average wind speeds below this are not viable locations for the installation of the turbines. In addition, the space requirements for the micro wind turbines are immense and the area should be free of obstructions allowing the wind to flow freely.
• Issues related to transmission: While generating wind energy is easy, it is the transmission which is the difficult part. Being noisy and aesthetically non-appealing, micro wind turbines are installed away from residential areas requiring massive amounts of transmission lines, which is a challenging task.