How clean is wind energy?Views: 78
Wind energy is a great way to help reduce your carbon footprint, but what about the impact on the environment? Is wind energy clean? I’ll address some common questions about wind power and help you determine if it’s right for your home.
Wind turbines are very quiet.
Wind turbines are very quiet. They are no louder than a typical refrigerator, and can be heard only from distances of fewer than 200 feet (60 meters) away. Even then, other sources of noise in the area can drown out the sound of wind turbines.
Wind turbines also produce less noise at night, when they are producing electricity rather than spinning to generate it. And most importantly, because wind is intermittent (it comes and goes), so too is its sound: when there’s no breeze or storm to drive them on your property or near your neighborhood, you won’t hear anything at all!
The sounds produced by wind farms tend to be similar to those made by distant geese or other waterfowl—and like those birds’ calls, they may become part of the fabric of nature itself:
Wind farms can kill birds, but not as many as you think.
It’s a common misconception that wind farms kill huge numbers of birds. In fact, they kill between 140,000 and 328,000 birds per year, which is a small fraction of the total number killed by human activities. For example, cats kill between 1 and 4 billion birds per year in the United States alone—that’s almost half of all bird deaths due to human activity! Other sources of bird mortality include buildings (about 1 million), communication towers (about 100 million), power lines (about 50 million) and pesticides in agriculture (about 6–10 billion).
Wind turbines are cleaner than fossil fuels like oil and coal when it comes to pollution emissions like carbon dioxide; however, some people have concerns about how much energy from natural resources will be needed to produce these renewable sources of power.
Wind turbines don’t emit carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change.
You may wonder if wind turbines emit CO2, since they use a fuel that comes from the ground. The answer is no. Wind turbines don’t emit carbon dioxide, which contributes to climate change.
This makes them an attractive alternative to fossil fuels for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and helping the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign fuel imports.
Wind farms can also be quite quiet compared with other sources of electricity generation, like coal-fired power plants or nuclear power stations—and are even quieter than some other renewable energy technologies such as solar photovoltaic panels (which have fans to keep them cool).
Wind turbines can be built on low-quality land without impacting food production.
Mechanical wind turbines require very little land. A typical turbine has a rotor diameter of 90m, or 300 feet. Wind farms can be built on low-quality land that is not suitable for farming and cannot be used for grazing animals. While individual wind farms typically take up less than 0.1% of their host country’s total area, some countries have many more wind turbines than others. In general, areas with higher population density tend to house more wind farms due to the lower cost of transmission lines relative to land value in those areas.
Wind power is often cited as an alternative energy source for remote communities where food production is difficult or impossible due to extreme weather conditions or lack of arable land (e.g., high elevation).
Wind energy is a domestic resource that can help the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign fuel imports.
Wind energy is a domestic resource that can help the U.S. reduce its dependence on foreign fuel imports. The most obvious benefit of wind power is the reduction of emissions from coal-burning power plants, which are responsible for 40% of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions and 90% of sulfur dioxide emissions in this country. Wind power also reduces our dependence on foreign sources of oil and natural gas, like Saudi Arabia, which currently supplies nearly one third of all refined products consumed in the United States.
Wind turbines give off no carbon dioxide (CO2), but they do produce waste heat in their operation—about 20% more than conventional fossil fuel plants—so they may require additional water cooling capacity if used in conjunction with other cooling units at a utility site or industrial facility where excess heat must be disposed of anyway (which would reduce overall efficiency). Finally, it takes tremendous amounts of concrete and steel to build even a small number of wind farms; this has led some environmentalists to oppose large-scale projects because mining for these materials tends to cause environmental damage – especially when done overseas – as well as contributing heavily toward global warming through “deforestation” activities such as clear-cutting old growth forests just so earth movers can access ore bodies underneath them without having them fall down upon them first!
Wind energy doesn’t come with the same problems and emissions as fossil fuels
Wind energy is a domestic resource. Wind farms are built on land that is less valuable than the most productive land for farming and other purposes, such as real estate development. This means wind farms don’t displace productive agricultural or commercial uses of the land.
Wind energy is carbon neutral. The production and operation of wind turbines produces no greenhouse gases or air pollutants as a result of normal operations. In fact, every kilowatt-hour produced by a wind turbine displaces electricity that would otherwise have been generated from fossil fuel sources like coal, natural gas, oil and peat (a form of wetland).
Wind energy is renewable because it can never be depleted and will never run out like fossil fuels do – unlike other forms of energy generation such as nuclear power which relies on finite resources (uranium ore) to produce electricity; we’ll never run out of wind!
While renewable energy sources like wind and solar are often thought of as clean, there are still some concerns about how much carbon dioxide they will emit in the future. But when compared to other sources of power, wind turbines seem to be one of the best options for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and helping us reach our climate goals.