Wind energy is currently the most popular renewable energy source in the world and here are some advantages and disadvantages of using wind energy.
Wind power is one of the oldest energy sources, and conversion of wind power into a useful form of energy has been done for more than 5000 years for purposes like propel sailboats and sailing ships. Today wind energy is mostly used to generate electricity, and is one of the most advanced renewable energy sectors with potential to in years to come have much bigger ratio in satisfying total energy demand than current 1.5% of worldwide electricity usage (2008 data).
When we talk about advantages and disadvantages of wind power the thing people usually start describing wind energy is that this an ecologically acceptable energy source, meaning that unlike fossil fuels wind power won't contribute to even bigger climate change impact, and won't further pollute our planet like fossil fuels do. For instance, a single 1-MW wind turbine can save around 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide in one year.
Wind power is also the renewable energy source meaning it cannot be depleted like fossil fuels can. Wind power available in the atmosphere is over five times greater than current world energy consumption. The potential of wind power on land and near-shore is somewhere around 72 TW that is over five times more than the world's current energy use in all forms.
The other advantage of wind power is definitely the fact that anybody can build or buy wind turbine to harness wind energy and satisfy energy demands of your home. Wind turbines do not need much maintenance and you don't have to be genius to handle them. Of course having your own wind turbine also means you won't be suffering from power cuts. Also, wind power sector is becoming more and more cost effective with many different researches being done to cut the installation costs, improve efficiency and to ensure better reliability of wind power.
When we think about the disadvantages of wind energy the first thing we should mention is the availability of wind, namely that some places have frequent, powerful winds which makes harnessing wind energy very easy while at some places winds are not powerful enough nor frequent enough to create enough electricity. However, wind farms could soon solve this problem in many areas, and ensure more consistent blowing of the wind.
Wind power installation costs are still relatively high which is another disadvantage of wind power. Installation costs in some areas are over $10000, while average installation costs of windmill turbine are usually in range between $8000-10000. Roughly, it will take you about 10 years to return installation costs. This is really not such a long period but $10000 investment is something that still drives away many people from harnessing wind energy.
The other disadvantage of wind power is a relatively difficult environmental integration that can affect aesthetics of landscape. Wind power facilities also need to be carefully planned, sited and operated to minimize negative impacts on bird and wildlife populations.
As you can see the main advantages of wind power definitely outweigh the main wind power disadvantages. The best proof to this is the rapid growth of wind sector worldwide. In 2007, for instance wind energy sector grew by 30 percent in 2007, and its growth haven't stop even in times of recession.