It’s official; according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), wind energy is one of the best forms of renewable energy. By harnessing kinetic energy, even just one wind turbine could power an entire neighborhood. However, just like everything else, there are some disadvantages.
More and more people are turning to renewable energy sources. To make an informed decision, you should know about the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy. Continue reading to learn more.
Understanding How Wind Energy Works
Before getting into the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy, it’s important to know how it works. Suppose that you want to convert your single-family home to wind energy.
First, this would involve purchasing a wind turbine––which looks very similar to a windmill. A wind turbine’s price largely depends on its size; smaller ones cost about $5,000, while large commercial ones can reach $75,000 each.
Once the wind turbine is installed, the wind will cause the turbines to spin. The spinning blades harness the wind’s kinetic energy, which then powers an electric generator. The home then draws power from the generator, nearly eliminating its carbon footprint.
The Advantages of Wind Energy
Some advantages of wind energy include:
It’s a “Clean” Source of Energy
Wind turbines do not have any emissions, meaning that it doesn’t compromise an area’s air quality. Moreover, they don’t rely on gas, coal, or other “dirty” forms of energy. By feeding off a region’s natural winds, it can power homes, businesses, and even large-scale farms.
Many States Offer Tax and Financial Incentives
You might balk at the idea of spending $5,000 for a single wind turbine. However, it’s worth noting that many states offer incentives for homeowners to switch over to renewable energy sources.
The U.S. Department of Energy notes that as of 2021, one can get 1.5 cents in tax credits for every kilowatt-hour generated. Depending on where you live, some states even pay for some of the turbines’ installation. You can learn more about this by visiting the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.
Wind Turbines Can Last a Long Time
On average, you can keep one wind turbine up and running for about 20 years, per the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This means, with proper maintenance, you could have a functioning wind turbine for years to come. Depending on where you live, this could even add to your property’s value.
The Disadvantages of Wind Energy
While wind energy comes with many benefits, it also comes with many drawbacks, such as:
A Wind Turbine Can Lower Your Property’s Value
Yeah, yeah, we know; we just said that wind turbines can increase your property’s value. However, this might not be the case if you live in a heavily-populated area. That’s because wind turbines generate quite a bit of noise.
According to General Electric (GE), a wind turbine can generate up to 45 decibels of noise if placed about 300 feet from the home. That’s about as loud as your refrigerator. Yet, the keywords here are “300 feet.”
If the wind turbine is closer than that distance to your home, you’ll hear it constantly. For instance, if your home is closer, it could be as loud as 125 decibels––that’s like hearing a lawn mower going all day, every day.
No matter how much you like white noise, constantly having to hear a wind turbine could make your property less appealing to potential buyers and therefore lower your property’s value.
Some Areas Won’t Allow Wind Turbines
To have a wind turbine on your property, you’ll likely have to apply for a few permits––all of which are subject to state or county approval. These municipalities may reject an application for a wind turbine on your property because:
- Many people don’t want wind turbines looming over their properties. The county could argue that installing a wind turbine could disrupt a town or city’s visual skyline.
- Wind turbines are loud. Even if your home is 300 feet away from the wind turbine, someone else’s might not be. Would you want to hear a lawn mower revving at 3 am, even if it produced clean energy?
- Wind turbines can threaten wildlife. The U.S. Department of the Interior notes that wind turbines kill hundreds of thousands of animals a year––, especially migratory birds and bats. It notes that the placement of wind turbine interferes with their migratory patterns, and they… well, you get the idea.
Is a Wind Turbine Right for Me?
If you’re considering a switch to wind energy, you definitely have options. Yet, it’s not an easy road. You’ll have to weigh multiple factors when considering your energy options, including:
- Where you live
- What property do you own
- The homes around you
- How much energy your property generates
- Your budget
- How long you expect to stay in the home
- Whether your state provides tax or financial incentives
A Final Word
Still, have questions about the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy? Visit the U.S. Department of Energy’s website.