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Despite the economic impacts of COVID-19, the global wind energy industry saw its best year yet in 2020. Although these optimistic figures are helpful to the future, to obtain the world’s goal of achieving net-zero by 2050, the industry needs to see an even more accelerated growth rate in the years to come.
In this latest report, learn the practical insights and present updated information about wind energy pros and cons in 2021.
How Is Wind a Renewable Resource?
The energy that is produced by wind is a form of solar energy. As the sun heats the atmosphere, a combination of the earth’s rotation and the irregularities found on the planet’s surface ultimately result in the wind. Wind can then be harnessed to generate electricity, which becomes known as wind energy or wind power.
Wind stimulates the movement of wind turbines, which convert this kinetic energy into mechanical power. Through the help of a generator, the mechanical power is then converted into electricity.
How Wind Energy Is a Renewable Source?
Wind is considered a renewable energy source because it is inexhaustible. It does not contaminate. It reduces fossil fuels, which results in harmful greenhouse gasses that contribute to global warming.
The efficient use of wind energy helps to contribute to more sustainable development because, in addition to being a renewable energy source, it is also considered to be a “native” energy source as well. Since wind is available nearly everywhere globally, it helps contribute to the reduction of energy imports while also driving local employment.
Susceptibility to Climate Changes
Not surprisingly, since wind energy relies on the climate, it faces susceptibility to future climate changes. Nature Climate Change predicts that wind energy may decline in some areas of the world while increasing others. Thankfully, these predictions claim that the risk to these resources is minimal.
The study details two climate change scenarios, including a lower level and a higher-level global warming environment. In the first, lower-level scenario, studies show no clear indication in either direction for wind energy due to global warming.
On the high level of global warming, it is clear that most renewable energy sources, including wind, face a more significant impact. The potential for utility-scale wind energy production decreases, especially on a regional level.
Regardless of these findings, studies show that directly impacts on wind energy as brought on by climate changes are generally uncertain.
Possible Future Outcomes
According to the Wind Vision Report, released by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, the future of wind energy looks bright. Here are a few of the predictions for wind power to expect by 2050.
Electricity Rates for Consumers
In the next decade, electricity rates for consumers are anticipated to increase by 0.1 cents/kWh, or less than 1%. Thankfully, this increase is momentary and will decrease once again by 2050 for an estimated savings of 0.3 cents/kWh.
Power System Costs
Long-term savings are driven as a result of reduced fossil fuel purchase, among other sources. From 2013 through 2050, wind energy expects to see $149 billion in savings on power system costs, including the capital, operations and maintenance, fuel costs for generation, storage, and transmission.
An approximate 12.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions will be avoided by 2050 due to this renewable energy source. This reduction in emissions leads to additional cost savings from climate change damages estimated at $400 billion.
Public Health and Air Quality
Harmful pollutants such as particulate matter, nitrous oxides, and sulfur dioxides are emitted by traditional fossil fuel power plants. These contaminants and can lead to mortality, morbidity, and economic damage. An approximated 21,700 premature deaths and $108 billion will be avoided in health and monetary damages brought on by these harmful air pollutants.
Wind energy will also contribute to reducing water consumption. By 2030, water consumption should decrease by 11% and 23% by 2050, saving 260 billion gallons of this precious resource.
As of 2013, the wind energy industry consisted of 50,000 direct, indirect, and induced jobs. This number is expected to grow to 230,000 by 2030 and 600,000 by 2050.
With an increase in wind energy dependency, the reduction of long-term natural gas prices can be expected. From 2013 through 2050, it is anticipated that $280 billion will be saved for consumers.
Lease payments are made to landowners who have plants on or near their property. These sums are expected to grow by $300 million by 2030 and another $400 million on top of that by 2050. Additionally, taxes are also collected by local communities from wind plants. These taxes will increase by $800 million in the next decade and another $1.5 billion by 2050.
Public Acceptance and Wildlife
It is possible for wind energy to support continuing responsible deployment. As long as wind energy companies are careful to minimizing negative impacts they can thrive in the future.
What Are the Pros of Wind Power?
Being one of the fastest-growing energy sources globally, it’s no surprise that there are many advantages of wind energy. Pros of wind energy include:
- Job creation
- United States industry growth and competitiveness
- Source of clean fuel
- Source of domestic energy
- Building on existing farms and ranches
What Are 5 Disadvantages of Wind Energy?
Pros and cons of wind energy come hand in hand, which is why it is essential to also look at the disadvantages. Cons of wind energy include:
- Impact on local wildlife
- Noise and aesthetic pollution
- It may not be the most profitable option for the land
- Best locations tend to be in the most remote areas
- Must have competitive costs to conventional generation sources
Final Thoughts on Wind Energy Pros and Cons in 2021
It’s essential to look into wind energy pros and cons to gain an in-depth understanding of the industry’s future. Generally speaking, the benefits of wind energy tend to outweigh disadvantages well into the future.
Omit, despite the economic challenges of last year, the industry has shown continued growth. Thus, it is safe to assume that the wind power industry will continue to see growth through the end of 2021.