Wind energy is the electric power generated when air flows through wind turbines. Wind is classified as one of the cleanest sources of energy, which is an option to the burning of fossil fuels. Wind is readily available and most importantly does not produce greenhouse gases. The energy does not use or consume fuel, water, and the piece of land it occupies can be used for other activities such as farming. The benefits of wind energy are far-reaching compared to those of non-renewable sources of energy. Energy generated from wind is consistent throughout the year, although it has notable variation from time to time. Wind power is used concurrently with other power sources, thus ensuring a steady and reliable supply of electricity. Although the cost of constructing a wind farm is quite high, wind energy is clean, reliable, and cheaper compared to other non-renewable sources.
Wind energy is generated on a land-based utility and is said to be one of the lowest cost sources of energy since there are no fuel costs involved as compared to other energy sources whose costs rise depending on prices of fuels (Ragheb, 2016). Setting up a wind power-generating farm is an expensive affair, but once the farm has been set, the cost of energy produced reduces drastically. Sources of energy that rely on fossil fuel are volatile due to fluctuating costs of fuel compared to wind energy that has stable prices. According to Ragheb (2016), energy generated by a wind station is usually less than 1-cent per Kilowatt.
The average energy cost of the electric power has to include the total cost used in construction, transmission, annual production, and other major components. However, according to the American Wind Energy Association, the wind costs have greatly dropped in the past few years given that wind is freely available and it is a renewable source (IRENA, 2012). The fact that it is a renewable energy allows power consumers to enjoy low rates. Therefore, wind energy is delivering less costly and affordable power to consumers. The highest cost of implementing a wind power project is the capital cost that requires a considerable amount of money.
The cost of electricity generated by the wind turbines is determined by the speed of the wind. Location of the wind farm also significantly affects the amount of electricity that can be produced. However, there have been significant advancements in technology that has seen the developments of lighter and longer blades, as well as construction of taller wind towers. An operational wind tower is expected to operate for 20 years or more although it requires maintenance and monitoring (Ragheb, 2016). Other factors that affect the cost of electricity generated by wind are the site, permit payments, the availability of the land to set up the project, the cost of labor, transportation costs among other factors.
Initially, the electrical system was dominated by energy, which came from fossil fuels, steam, and water. However, lately, there has been a significant increase in renewable energy sources. Wind power is a reliable source of energy, although the weather conditions highly determine its effectiveness. Low speeds of wind at times may result in low energy supply. However, when the winds are at their peak, the wind energy system becomes a reliable source, which can supply high voltages to the grid (WEF, 2016). On the other hand, renewable energies have played a critical role in reducing the amount of greenhouse gases being emitted by the fossil fuels. The fuels burnt would produce carbon, but with renewable sources of energy such as wind, the greenhouse gas emissions have significantly dropped (Energy.gov, 2017). A cleaner environment means that there will be less health-related complications, especially respiratory, which wind energy has eliminated effectively.
Wind energy has enabled growth of industries by ensuring fair competition since entities are now paying less for the electricity thus reducing the operational costs. The low cost of energy has played a significant role in the growth of the United States economy. The clean, renewable energy has ensured that the US effectively competes in the global economy (Ragheb, 2016). Wind energy does not pollute the environment, unlike other power plants that operate using natural gas, fuels, coal, and nuclear power. Therefore, it does not cause health problems or damage to the environment. Moreover, the wind is a domestic energy source, and most importantly, it is inexhaustible. With the increase in wind energy production in the US, it is set to become one of the largest generators of clean energy.
Since wind power is attributed to the solar energy, it makes it sustainable. In this case, winds are usually caused by heating of the atmosphere by the sun, while the earth rotation enhances the movement of the air, making it possible to harness the power and send it to the grid. Wind power farms are cost effective since they can be set up on ranches or agricultural land. The availability of wind turbines in rural areas greatly benefits the community as they have a cheap energy source and they are able to continue working on the land where the wind project has been set up (WEF, 2016). The possessor of the land gets rental income from the project owner thus providing the proprietor with an additional source of income.
Wind energy sources provide an alternative to the ever-rising costs of electricity generated from fuels and natural gasses. Continued use of wind energy has greatly reduced the traditional dependence on fossil fuels, which are not eco-friendly. For an individual or an industry seeking to cut the costs of electricity, wind turbines are a practical option. However, to determine whether the wind project is practical, one should consider factors such as how the proprietor is going to benefit from the wind project (YEF, 2017). Wind energy projects require considerable amount of money as initial capital, but they are effective and practical since they will serve for a lifetime at low costs. To ensure maximum benefit from this power source, it is important to consider the location of the wind system and the power rates in the area (NSW, 2010). It is equally important to consider the availability and the speed of wind in that area.
Wind systems can be used along with the electricity transmission and distribution system or in a stand-alone utility that is not connected to the main electrical grid. Wind power can greatly reduce the cost of power consumption in the household or any other utility, especially in lighting, heating, and appliances. It is essential to connect wind power to the main electrical grid to ensure continuous supply even when the wind is not generating enough. Also, when the wind power produces more than enough, the power is sold to the national grid utility through automatic switch. Stand-alone wind power sources are effective in places that are located far away from the main grid. However, for the standalone to generate power effectively, it is important to ensure that there is a wind farm set up in a location, which has annual average wind speeds to produce the amount of power required.
Wind power is a clean energy source generated by turbines, which are wind driven. The wind power is a renewable source of energy and cannot be exhausted. It is a cheap power source since it does not require fuel or water to run. Indeed, it only requires enough air movement for it to generate power. The only cost incurred is during the setting up and the maintenance of the plant. After the setup, the plant considerably reduces the cost of electricity generated by the wind. The power source is efficient, especially if it is set up in a strategic location where there is enough wind to drive the turbines. It has the ability to produce enough power that if produced in excess it can be sold to the main grid. An individual or an industry seeking to lower power costs can adopt the wind energy as it generates enough power for operation. However, given that the wind speeds keep on fluctuating from time to time, it is important for one to connect to the main grid in order to ensure steady power supply in case the wind energy is insufficient.