Until recently, there is no question that technologies such as wind turbines were less efficient than using fossil fuel. Why are we investing so much in renewable in terms of tax breaks and legislation for wind energy development? The reason is simple; it’s a great and profitable investment in the future.
It may be time to consider two things: 1) Change how lease payments are made on land hosting wind turbines to profit the entire community. 2) Examine the current policies to ensure ongoing investment is made, and incremental growth can continue. Moratoriums are a stop-gap, not a long term solution.
#1 The Wind is a Pollution-free Source of Energy
Overall, using wind to produce energy has fewer effects on the environment than many other energy sources. The source of the power, wind, does not release harmful emissions that pollute the air or water.
As technology develops and investment in wind turbines is made, it will lower emissions for electricity generation. Fossil fuel power plants that burn coal are being dismantled in certain areas of the country that use wind generation.
Demolition of the Harbor Beach Michigan Coal Power Plant
#2 Wind Energy is Space Efficient
Wind turbines can operate in the community. Typically in open spaces such as farms and prairie lands. The space under and near the turbines can still be used to grow crops and graze cattle.
Land that is taken is the pad area under the turbine and service access road easement. Power cables carrying the generated electricity are typically buried.
This means on a per kilowatt basis, each turbine is efficient and has the capacity to power thousands of homes and businesses.
#2 Wind Energy Has A Fast Return on Investment (ROI)
For years wind energy detractors pointed to the high upfront cost and the high per-kilowatt contract cost of wind generation. With a useful life of about 20 years, wind turbines’ ROI (return on investment) is now paid back in 5-8 months.
While the initial cost of a wind turbine is high, the source of the power, wind, is free. Turbines also have relatively low running costs once they are constructed and need little maintenance.
#3 Wind Energy is Now Cheaper than Coal
One report examining the Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) shows U.S. renewable energy prices continued falling over the past year. Both wind and solar hitting new lows, and costs fell below the cost of coal in 2018.
#4 Wind Energy is A New Source For High Tech Jobs
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics noted over the next ten years, wind turbine service technicians are the #1 fastest growing occupations with an average salary of $53,900.
While still an emerging job sector, the number of renewable energy jobs now exceeds 120,000. Today, over 530 factories in 43 states build wind and solar energy related parts and supplies.
#5 Wind Energy Protects Our Future
Wind energy is only one of the solutions to reduce the proven effects of global climate change. By investing in the technology and its implementation, growth has meant that its become more cost efficient in the energy produced.
This video presents a non-political outline of the situation that the planet finds itself in. It does not offer any solutions. This was first posted on Thumbwind in 2012. Eight years later it resonates even more.
Some may consider it propaganda while others consider it prophetic. It’s required viewing in several classes in colleges throughout Michigan.
Sources: Wind Energy Development
#1 – U.S. Energy Information Administration – EIA – Independent Statistics and Analysis. (n.d.). Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/wind/wind-energy-and-the-environment.php
#2 – Richard, M. (n.d.). The Energy Payback for a 2-Megawatt Wind Turbine That Lasts Over 20 Years Is… 5-8 Months. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.treehugger.com/energy-paypack-megawatt-wind-turbine-lasts-over-years-months-4858396
#3 – Singh, D. (n.d.). Levelized Cost of Energy and Levelized Cost of Storage 2019. Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.lazard.com/perspective/lcoe2019
#4 – Fastest Growing Occupations : Occupational Outlook Handbook. (2020, September 01). Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.bls.gov/ooh/fastest-growing.htm
#5 – Incubatepictures. (2012, February 11). There’s No Tomorrow (limits to growth & the future). Retrieved December 03, 2020, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOMWzjrRiBg