Wind energy is an interesting topic because it is an important part of trying to minimize our carbon footprint. I chose wind turbines for my sustainability project because I find them interesting and I seeing them more and more. Wind turbines have been around longer then we know being used for grain-grinding, water-pumping, and charging radios. The 21st century wind turbines are so much more advanced and continuing to become better. There are many advantages and disadvantages with the wind turbines and the disadvantages are continuously being fixed.
Wind turbines have been around for a long time being used for grain-grinding, water- pumping, charging radios, and saving energy. The first wind turbine ever to be used to save energy was built in 1941 but failed when one of the blades broke off. The turbine ran through hundreds of hours of testing up to 1943 when they finally got it to work. In 1980 the turbines were 15 meters and now in 2011 they are about 150 meters and estimated to be around 300 meters in 2020. Today's wind turbines are in a variety of vertical and horizontal axis types. The smallest turbines are used for things such as battery charging or auxiliary power on sailing boats, whereas large turbines are becoming an increasingly large source of commercial electric power.
An advantage of having wind turbines is zero emissions. Wind is renewable because there is a constant supply, unlike coal, oil, and gas, which are limited natural resources. Another advantage of wind energy is it's free. Wind energy and putting up turbines also creates new jobs. Putting up turbines is a quick installation because once a site has been selected and the permits get approved the wind turbine installation can be completed in months. In addition the turbines are self-sufficient because they can be developed domestically, and wind power reduces U.S. reliance on imported energy. Wind turbine operation offers little threat to wildlife and natural habitat and makes our footprint smaller. There are many more advantages to wind turbines but there are also some disadvantages.
A disadvantage of the wind turbine is the high initial investment. About 80% goes to machinery, and 20% to site preparation and installation. Noise is also a disadvantage but it is not as bad as it used to be. Today's turbines are sleeker and more appealing to people but they are very big and some people do not like the look of them. The Wind must blow between 16 mph and 60 mph for power generation, and presently wind energy cannot be easily stored. Another disadvantage is wind turbines must be situated nearby existing infrastructures or else costs increase.
In conclusion there are many advantages and disadvantages when it comes to wind turbines. With all of the advantages and disadvantages they can take them into account for future master planning. Also there is always