Advantages and Disadvantages of Wind Energy

With renewables now accounting for a quarter of all global electricity generation and global wind capacity reaching 510GW, wind energy is a trend that’s unlikely to blow over anytime soon. But is wind power all good news or does it come at a cost? Find out as PIF investigates the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy.

What is wind energy and how is it utilised?

Wind energy is the term used for harnessing the natural kinetic power source of wind and using this to generate electricity. Wind turbines are used to convert this power into a renewable power source that can be utilised across the commercial and residential landscapes.

The beauty of wind energy is just how accessible it is. This is a renewable energy source that offers a low-carbon solution to generating electrical power from the kinetic energy of wind. The amount of electricity generated depends on the speed of the wind and the number of wind turbines deployed at each wind farm.

What are the advantages of wind power?

There are many advantages of wind power, particularly around its positive impact on the environment

  • Wind turbines are a great resource to help generate energy in remote locations, such as mountain or desert communities.
  • Wind power has a remarkably small carbon footprint.
  • Wind power can be combined with solar energy to generate a sustainable energy source in developing countries.
  • There are zero carbon emissions associated with the operation of wind turbines.
  • The only emissions emitted from wind turbines arise from their manufacture, construction and maintenance.
  • Wind energy has one of the lowest water consumption footprints, unlike fossil fuels and nuclear power plants.
  • Wind turbines reduce a nation’s demand for imported fuel sources.
  • Wind power production meant that Europe managed to avoid fuel costs amounting to €5.71 billion.

Are there any disadvantages of wind power?

There are some disadvantages of wind power, mainly from a planning and commercial outlook. However, many believe the positives far outweigh the negatives. Here are a few disadvantages that have been identified in the industry:

  • Wind turbines depend on suitable wind speed in order to generate electricity. This can be difficult to harness in some parts of the globe.
  • If the wind speed is below a certain threshold, turbines depend on other forms of electricity generation in order to operate, which widens the number of resources being relied upon.
  • Planning permission can be hard to get for onshore wind farms due to the visual impact of the turbines.
  • The complexity of manufacturing offshore wind farms makes it a more costly method than onshore wind farms.
  • Wind turbines generate a lot less power than the average fossil fuel power station, requiring multiple wind turbines to be built in order to make an impact.

If you’d like to find out more about wind turbine advantages and disadvantages, take a look at our Top 10 Renewable Energy Facts.

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