“Take care, your worship; those things over there are not giants but windmills.”
-Don Quixote de la Mancha by Miguel de Cervantes
I. Abstract: Wind energy has many pros and cons, and thus is subject to much scrutiny as a viable energy source. A fundamental qualification for wind power is the ability to support the vast industries and the enterprises of the 6.3 billion people that inhabit this planet. In addition, wind power must be able to meet the needs of the Earth’s population in a renewable, reliable, and responsible manner. In the following paper, wind energy will be evaluated based on its energy/cost efficiency, possible environmental ramifications, its practicality and the various countries already implementing it, the logistics of installing and maintaining the turbines, and finally any possible improvements that loom in the future.
II. Historical Background:
Since the dawn of time, man has relied upon wind to run his creations, most notably windmills and boats. In fact, the first wind-driven machines were implemented in Persia as early as 200 B.C. However, in the last decade, wind power has come to the forefront in the race to unearth alternate energy sources.
America and the world as a whole have relied upon non-renewable sources of energy for decades. In previous years, the search for renewable energy had been relegated to the backburner, lying dormant as the oil market boomed. However, the use of fossil fuels has been embroiled in many environmental issues, not to mention political and economical ones. However, rising oil prices and the questionable security of America’s oil sources has led to a new clarion call for clean, efficient energy. Proponents of wind power argue that it is clean, responsible, and perhaps most importantly, renewable.
III. Purpose: The over-arching goal of this paper is to evaluate the respective pros and cons of wind energy, and its viability as a sustainable energy source that can serve as an alternative to fossil fuels.
IV. Discussion and Conclusions:
Wind Power can be defined succinctly as the kinetic energy present in motion that can be converted to mechanical energy. The basic turbine uses mechanical blades that rotate due to the force of the wind to drive a generator that in turn sends electricity through a transformer into the power lines that supply energy to homes and businesses. The following diagram details the above-mentioned process1
Modern technological developments have helped transform wind energy into a more accessible and practical power source. According to the website, the following criteria can be used to evaluate the efficiency of wind energy2:
Although wind power is completely free and will never be depleted, a concern shared by many is the sheer impossibility of sustaining the wind. Because of this inconsistency and the ever-changing speeds of wind, power is producing at varying levels. Also, wind turbines have a certain...