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Wind power has been an important part of our society for thousands of years. Uses for wind energy go as far back as 5,000 B.C., where it was used to propel boats on the Nile River. Eventually, wind energy benefits evolved—from windmills that would grind grain to wind turbines that generate electricity.
Today, wind energy as a renewable resource continues to grow. According to the World Wind Energy Association, wind power capacity worldwide reached 650.8 GW in 2020. This number continues to grow as more organizations invest in wind energy projects.
There are several wind energy pros and cons to consider. To help you make the best investment decision, we’ve listed the following top wind energy pros and cons below.
Sustainable and Clean Energy
One of the main advantages of wind energy is that it is sustainable. Wind energy is generated from technology that harnesses the Earth’s air currents. These air currents are created by the sun’s uneven heating of the Earth’s surface, which causes air to rise. So, as long as the sun continues to warm the Earth, there will always be wind currents.
In addition to its sustainability, wind energy is also clean. Compared to energy sources that require fuel, wind energy relies solely on air currents. As a result, the energy produced by wind turbines is cleaner and cheaper than fuel-powered technology.
Similarly to solar energy, those who invest in wind energy can use numerous federal incentives in the U.S. These incentives were employed by the federal government to encourage renewable energy projects.
One common type of incentive is a federal tax credit. A production tax credit provides owners and developers of wind energy facilities with a tax credit on every kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. Another tax credit is an investment tax credit. This one-time ITC is calculated using the dollar amount of the investment. An investor can obtain this credit once the equipment is put into service.
Efficient Use of Space
Wind turbines tend to be space-efficient when comparing the area they use and the energy they produce. Larger wind turbines can generate enough electricity in one year to power around 600 U.S. homes. Wind farms consist of these large turbines located in windy areas. Additionally, smaller wind turbines can be quite effective, providing enough power for a small business.
A Project’s Location is Important
One of the disadvantages of wind energy projects can be finding the right location. The American Wind Energy Association describes suitable locations for wind projects as “large, open space, such as agricultural land.”
The reason that a large, open area is best for wind projects is due to their reliance on the wind itself. After all, wind turbines require wind to generate electricity. Without wind currents, wind turbines do not spin and do not generate electricity.
While you might choose a location that seems suitable, wind currents may not be consistent, which results in less energy generation.
Installation Costs Can Vary
The actual installed costs for a wind project tend to vary. In a market report by the U.S. Department of Energy, estimated installed costs consist of manufacturer estimates for different turbine models.
However, data collected by the Department of Energy shows that actual installed costs vary based on site-specific factors. For example, these costs can vary due to construction requirements, local cost of labor for installation, and obtaining permits.
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