Wind Power as an Alternative Energy Source
By Jessica Rush
Wind has been used as an alternative energy source for over 2000 years. With the use of sails on a boat or in the form of a large scale wind farm used to power a whole neighborhood. As we reach closer and closer to the tipping point of global warming, now is the time to pursue alternatives to costly fossil fuels. Wind Energy as an alternative to fossil fuels is an attractive one and one that should be highly considered. Wind energy is free and ever abundant. With the clear evidence of global warming and the mounting environmental and health problems associated with the use of fossil fuels, along with its rapidly declining availability it is clear that a shift needs to be made towards renewable energy resources such as wind power. Renewable energy resources could provide many immediate environmental benefits by avoiding the mass pollution caused by renewable resources. However the greatest benefit is the economic benefit. To track the economic benefit one must look at “what” is modern wind power. Modern wind power was born in Denmark. In 1891, an adventurous teacher called Poul la Cour discovered that the traditional clapboard-sailed windmill could be adapted from grinding corn to producing electricity. (“Denmark-Birthplace of Modern Wind Power; 2006) Although modern wind power was born in 1891, and a domestic market had already opened in Denmark, it wasn’t until the California “wind rush” that gave Danish turbines their head. Fuelled by tax credits to encourage alternative energy, thousands of wind turbines went up around the windswept passes above Los Angeles. Over 7,000 of them were Danish. (“Denmark-Birthplace of Modern Wind Power; 2006) Since wind powers birth in 1891 the production of turbines has become Denmark’s fourth largest export commodity. Wind energy is a booming international business. Global sales of wind turbines reached US$ 1.5 billion in 1997. (“Wind Energy-A Global Market”; 2006) Wind energy has expanded globally and not just in Europe. Coal dependent China’s wind energy capacity is predicted to double in 1998 to almost 300 megawatts. In South America, Brazil is the latest country to join the wind club. In Africa, Morocco is leading the way with a 50 Megawatt scheme. After a quiet period, the United States is also expanding again. In Europe, seven million people now get their electricity from the wind. (“Wind Energy-A Global Market”; 2006) Government regulations have also helped the global expansion of renewable energy resources. Many countries have adopted reduction plans calling for 10% power production from renewable energy resources by 2020. However the governments have done little to aid the process, other than offer small tax incentives and rebates that have depended on the availability of government funds. With the clear threat that fossil fuels bring and the lack of commitment from the government, this could spell global disaster, especially if civilians don’t want to step up and make a change. With the clear benefits of wind power: A typical 600 kilowatt wind turbine can produce up to two million units of electricity in a year. This is the equivalent to the annual power consumption of 400 households. (“World beaters- the Danish wind industry”, 2006) With little to no pollution or other harmful risks, opposed to the hundreds, thousands, millions and even billions of tons of chemical waste and harmful risks associated with fossil fuels. Wind power seems like the logical and most reasonable choice in renewable energy. However there are seven major opposing arguments against wind power as an alternative energy. The first major argument opponents have against wind power is that it produces little power. In reality a wind turbine will produce enough energy to pay back what was used to construct it in as little as three months. And Denmark produces over 15% of its electricity from wind while Germany produces over 5% of its total power....
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