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Wind Energy: Positive Effects Beyond The Environment and Cost

Wind energy is the second-largest renewable energy source in the world, but most people don't know much about it. And like most renewable energy sources, wind energy has some advantages which make it better than traditional energy sources.

The wind energy industry is growing at a rapid pace and is expected to continue to do so for decades to come. More than 341,000 wind turbines spin around the world, generating more than 48% of Denmark’s electricity, 33% of Ireland’s, 27% of Portugal’s, 26% of Germany’s, 22% of the UK’s and 7% of the United States, according to the Statista report. The growth of the wind industry has been welcomed by the American public, as 84% support more wind power in their states.

The benefits of wind energy extend far beyond the environment and cost. Wind's positive impacts span multiple sectors, including economic development, public health, and agricultural productivity. Wind energy can provide significant benefits to communities that have few other economic opportunities or are otherwise being impacted negatively by the economy or other factors.

Wind Energy

Wind energy is the use of mechanical or electrical equipment to convert wind into electricity. This is a great alternative energy source to fossil fuels. Wind power is harnessed through wind turbines, and then the kinetic energy that is created is translated into mechanical energy and then can be converted into electricity by a generator.

Wind Farms

Wind farms consist of many individual wind turbines and are connected to the electrical grid. The cost of electricity from wind farms is usually cheaper than from using other sources like coal or natural gas. Onshore wind is steadier and stronger than offshore, but costs more to build and maintain. Wind farms can feed some of the electricity into the grid or provide power to isolated areas not connected to the grid.

Positive Impact of Wind Energy

Wind energy brings a few surprising benefits beyond its positive effects on the environment and its cost.

Employment Opportunity

Wind power creates jobs across a wide range of skills and education levels from entry-level to specialized technical and engineering positions that cannot be outsourced. ​AWEA reported that 85,000 Americans are currently employed in the wind power industry. The manufacturing process for wind turbines requires steel and concrete, which stimulates local economies as workers produce these materials nearby. And because more than half of a wind turbine's components are manufactured domestically, it increases the investment in local companies instead of funding foreign trade imbalances.

Used To Pump Water

The wind is an ever-present force on this planet, as evident by various winds like the trade wind and monsoon blowing through the world. Wind energy is one of the few renewable energy sources that can be used for generating electricity and providing thrust for water pumps to bring potable water to villages. The power of these winds have been harnessed for centuries for pumping water and grinding grain, but it wasn't until the late 19th century that people began to use windmills as a source of electricity.

Wind Energy Stimulates Local Economies

Wind farms can provide a needed source of income for farmers who lease land for turbines and landowners who allow construction crews access to their property during the construction of the farm. This can be especially important in areas where crop prices are low or commodity prices have experienced price volatility in recent years due to climate change. In addition, local governments collect property tax revenue from businesses that are attracted to their communities as a result of wind farm construction.

Space Efficiency

Wind turbines can be made larger and more efficient without taking up much more space. The current generation is each capable of providing enough power for 460 typical US homes based on electricity generated in only one year of use. These bigger turbines do have to be more spread out, but the land between can be used for other things such as food production. That's why, some scientists say, they could potentially be even more efficient than solar farms.

Final Thoughts

The truth is that wind energy has a multitude of undeniable benefits, and those benefits extend way beyond reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and lowering our electric bills. When used in conjunction with other forms of renewable energy like solar power, wind energy helps to reduce the number of carbon emissions that we release into our atmosphere on a daily basis.