Environmental effects of wind power
Provides a Clean Environment:
- Electricity from the wind is:
- involves no combustion
- Wind power being a renewable source is a huge advantage because the world is running out of energy sources very fast due to industrial developments all over the world and population increasing almost exponentially.
- Does not produce carbon dioxide or greenhouse gases. A single utility scale wind turbine can prevent the emission of 5000 tons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year.
- Does not cause global warming, which exposes many millions more people to the risk of hunger, drought, floods, and diseases every year, and also causes a significant loss of various species.
- Wind power does not produce acid rain like other combustible sources of energy.
An Alternative Source of Renewable Energy:
- Does not leave any harmful emissions or residue in the environment such as nuclear waste, sulfur oxides, carbon dioxide, water pollutants, etc.
- Does not involve mining, drilling, transporting and burning fuels. Mining and drilling has always had a significant negative affect on the environment including noise pollution, complete destruction of the surrounding environment, and emission of toxins by the machines used for drilling. Burning fuels releases toxins into the air and increases global warming.
Impact on the Community:
- It is affordable in fact it is one of the lowest priced renewable energy, which costs between 4 and 6 cents per kilowatt-hr.
- A small wind system can lower a household’s electricity bill by 50% to 90% depending on the location.
- The sound from the wind turbines has the same level as ordinary speech compared to other power sources that involves mining, drilling, etc. Since several communities surround Nose Hill, this feature makes wind turbines more favorable. At the height of 200 meters, the noises of rotor blades are usually covered up completely by the wind. Noises due to mechanical reasons have decreased significantly in the modern wind turbines due to adjustments made regarding vibrations. In addition, the environment around the windmills has been found to suffer the least amount of noise pollution compared to nuclear, and fossil fuel power plants. It is true that construction of windmills generate a lot of noise pollution. However, when compared with the noise pollution caused by construction of other types of power plants, the pollution wind farms produce is low.
Wind Power’s Impact on Wildlife and Vegetation:
- If wind energy does become popular, farming land will become scarce and trees will be cut off in order to make land for wind farms. The wind farm area is massive. As a result, the Richardsonis ground squirrels and badgers’ habitat in Nose Hill may be destroyed, which may decrease the squirrel’s population. The transformer connects electricity lines that run underground to the wind turbine tower, which may become a potential problem to the squirrels as well. However, the wind turbines themselves occupy a small fraction of the land area or the wind farm (less than 1%) and rest of the land is available for other uses or be left in its natural state.
- Wind turbines kill thousands of protected birds. In San Francisco, it has been reported that the wind turbines have killed nearly 1200 eagles, and killing 45000 other protected and non-protected smaller birds over the last couple of decades. If this concept is applied to Nose Hill, then the Bairdis Sparrows’ population may decrease in the future as a result of wind turbines. The switchyard transports electricity to the power plants, and may create air traffic for the birds.
- All the wildlife’s behavior may change as a result of wind turbines. The wildlife may choose to avoid turbine area through behavioral adaptation. Habitat and feeding locations may change. Some animals may choose to migrate to a different area than Nose Hill.
Wind Power May Not Be Dependable:
- Wind is an intermittent source and will not be able to constantly support energy regardless of its level of need. Windmills wouldn’t be able to supply power unless there is a sufficient amount of wind power available.
- Wind energy cannot be stored or controlled. Storage of energy is very important in the modern world. When wind power can’t be store, then it means that the converted energy may also be wasted if not used at that time. In addition, if wind energy cannot be controlled, it basically means that wind energy is unreliable and hence cannot be counted for a main source of energy for any kinds of industry.
- Wind power availability varies greatly with location. Wind energy is a local form of energy and hence cannot be transported, only certain areas have wind as a rather reliable source of power.
- Wind farms may take up much space, although the wind turbines’ towers take little space. The blades are what take up that space due to their large diameters.
Statistics and facts that support wind power:
- The effect of windless days can be offset by production from other power generating sources and this will provide reliable power supplies. Because wind turbines are able to operate 60% of the year in general and it works well during the winter. The increase in use of windmills will dramatically decrease the level of pollution, even if it is tied with other power-generating sources.
- Monitoring the sites in which wind farms exist has suggested that there was no significant adverse effect on bird populations. The global warming that is caused by using fossil fuels is posing far more threat to the population of birds over the world than windmills. For an example, of all the birds spotted to fly through a wind farm, only 1 in 10,000 have resulted in a collision that caused injury or death. In contrast, many rare, protected bird species have disappeared from the surface of earth due to pollution and global warming. Birds are still massively dying due to air pollution and water pollution. Power plants also destroy other animals other than just birds, while windmills barely have any negative affect on the ecosystem of its surrounding environment. Nuclear plants, in particular, is anonymous for basically destroying its surrounding environment and later poisoning the ground so no animals will be able to live in that area for thousands and thousands of years. Windmills don’t generate noise pollution nor release toxic waste, hence, enabling the animals in that area to remain and survive.
- Scientists are coming up with ways of using hydrogen in order to store energy produced by windmills. Excess wind power can be used to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. Also by using a fuel cell, it can be turned back into electricity when it is needed. If a fuel cell is invented, wind power will be able to be used to power up cars and other locomotives as well as being able to provide back up in case not enough windnbsp;