Among renewable sources, wind energy represents one of the primary resources available, together with solar and hydroelectric energy. However, to evaluate this green source in an informed way, it is essential to know the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy to understand its role and prospects in the energy transition.
On the other hand, an accurate analysis of the pros and cons of wind energy allows us to understand its limits and opportunities, considering all aspects related to producing electricity from wind.
Let’s see what the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy are, a now mature energy source at the center of strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and abandoning fossil fuels.
What are the advantages of wind energy?
In this analysis of the disadvantages and advantages of wind energy, we start with the benefits linked to the exploitation of wind energy for the generation of electricity in a sustainable way.
As we will see, wind energy guarantees countless favorable aspects for the environment, society, and the economy, so let’s immediately discover ten advantages of wind energy.
1. Green energy is available almost everywhere
Wind energy can be exploited almost anywhere on the planet. It is a readily available resource. A wind farm can be built and used in many areas of the Earth, possibly using this clean and infinite energy source in all countries. This is an important aspect, as wind energy has all the requirements to be an energy source suitable for sustainable development.
2. Renewable source of energy
In the evaluation of wind energy, essential advantages are linked to the renewable condition of this energy source. The wind is an inexhaustible natural resource, as its use for the production of electricity does not reduce its availability, unlike what happens with oil, gas, or coal, similar to what happens with energy solar used for electricity and heating.
3. Energy, even in isolated and remote areas
One of the pros of wind energy is the possibility of installing systems in remote areas, places where it is not possible, or economically disadvantageous to connect existing users to the electricity grid. In this way, it is possible to have electricity produced from a clean source even far from population centers, for example, in agricultural areas, industrial plants, and remote communities.
4. High performance efficiency
Among green sources, wind power boasts excellent efficiency, second only to hydraulic turbines for hydroelectric energy. Suppose the maximum efficiency of a wind farm is 59.3%, according to Betz’s Law, under normal conditions. In that case, wind farms boast an average efficiency of 40-50%, almost double compared to the best quality photovoltaic panels available today. It is a relevant characteristic in calculating the yield and sustainability of wind power.
5. No direct CO2 emissions
The advantages of wind turbines used to harness wind energy are several however, a significant benefit is the absence of direct greenhouse gas emissions. During its operation, a wind farm does not involve the release of climate-altering substances, as no combustion occurs. Therefore, wind power does not directly contribute to global warming or climate change, and the electricity produced is clean.
6. Versatile and scalable technology
Among the advantages of wind energy is the high versatility of this natural resource, a scalable technology suitable for both large-scale electricity production and the residential sector. From wind farms to mega wind farms, from off-shore turbines to installations on land, up to mini and micro-wind for domestic use, this energy is compatible with many different applications.
7. Economical energy source
Thanks to technological innovation, today, the cost of producing electricity through wind energy is meager, progress has been achieved after many years through the diffusion of this type of system, the incentives offered by the States, and significant public and private investments. Wind energy is an economical energy source, especially aiming for the long term to recover the initial investment.
8. Mature and reliable technology
Among the pros of wind energy is its maturity as an energy source. In fact, after many years of experimentation and innovation, today, wind power represents a reliable solution for electricity production. From minor wind farms to large stand-alone or grid-connected plants, investing in wind power guarantees good predictability and few risks.
9. Simple and infrequent maintenance
Wind power plants do not require frequent maintenance or particularly complex interventions, obviously, except for extraordinary events such as breakages and serious failures.
In general, the maintenance of wind turbines and blades is relatively simple and inexpensive, with the possibility of carrying out almost no intervention for many years without unforeseen situations.
Through wind power, it is possible to increase the diversification of the energy mix alongside other renewable sources such as solar energy and hydroelectric energy. These energy sources integrate well, possibly guaranteeing more excellent stability in electricity production, thanks to implementing different types of green energy sources.
What are the disadvantages of wind energy?
In the analysis of wind energy, the pros and cons must be evaluated transparently and comprehensively, also considering the possible critical issues and problems to be solved. This is a constructive approach towards renewable sources to promote their conscious and conscious use. Let’s see the main disadvantages of wind energy to consider when using this green energy source.
1. Wind is an inconstant resource
Among the cons of wind energy is the inconstancy of the wind. Although it is possible to install systems in areas with greater windiness, this resource remains challenging to predict and volatile over time. Of course, through careful planning and in-depth preliminary studies, it is possible to reduce this disadvantage.
2. Environmental and landscape impact
Modern wind power plants have an increasingly reduced environmental impact. Furthermore, wind turbines are often installed at sea or in remote areas far from population centers and places of naturalistic interest. However, it is undeniable that the larger wind farms, in particular, have a specific impact on the landscape and the environment despite significant progress in reducing the invasiveness of these systems.
3. Noise pollution
During operation, wind turbines produce constant noise, which is why they are not positioned near residential areas. Yet, noise pollution can also affect settlements several kilometers away. Hence, a careful evaluation of suitable places to host these systems is essential, ensuring that disadvantages such as noise about wind energy do not inconvenience the local population.