With the government incentives out there, now is the time to start thinking about making the switch, or at least about incorporating green energy into your rate plan, but what are the advantages and disadvantages of making that switch? Is wind energy the way to go, or should you be thinking solar instead? Here are a few of the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy to help make the decision process a little easier.
1) The environmental advantage
The biggest advantage of wind energy is that it doesn’t create harmful emissions that contribute to climate change or otherwise pollute air and water sources. Wind energy is clean; wind turbines don’t produce atmospheric emissions, and wind energy actually has the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an estimated 14 per cent (and that would save approximately $400 billion in avoided global damage by 2050). Wind energy also doesn’t use water, one of the planet’s finite resources that is already becoming scarce.
2) The health advantage
Because wind turbines don’t produce atmospheric emissions, they also don’t contribute to health problems like asthma, nor do they contribute harmful toxic (and radioactive) emissions that can lead to various health issues and birth defects.
3) The economic advantage
The other advantage is that wind energy is a renewable and sustainable domestic resource, and that has a lot of advantages. Primarily, renewable resources are positive investments for the economy. Investing in a resource that can’t run out creates a much more stable economy around that resource. The anxiety that exists around fossil fuel depletion right now won’t be a problem for wind energy, and the fact that wind energy will always be equally available and accessible means the prices surrounding the harvesting of that resource will be a lot more stable, too. You won’t have to worry so much about price fluctuations that are influenced by the season as much as the market. In fact, instead of prices increasing as time goes on and resources get more depleted, with wind energy, you can expect prices to continue to drop as technological advancements continue to make the harnessing of wind energy more efficient.
1) The location challenge
Location is both a pro and a con when it comes to harvesting wind energy. While wind turbines don’t take up much space and can help to provide multi-purpose spaces instead of merely repurposed spaces (wind turbines can easily be incorporated into farmland without interfering with the farming industry itself), most of the wind sites are located in rural areas, further from the city centres where electricity is needed. As a result, transmission lines are needed to effectively transfer energy between source locations and city centres.
2) The aesthetic challenge
Power plants are, for the most part, out of sight. Wind turbines, on the other hand, often become part of the landscape and change the viewshed, and while some enjoy the appearance of wind turbines, others are concerned about the aesthetic, as well as the potential sound of the turbines.
3) The environmental impact
While wind turbines don’t create the harmful emissions that contaminate air and water sources, but they do pose a risk to birds, some of whom have been killed flying into the blades of the turbines.
4) The economic challenge
Wind turbines are practical and efficient in windy areas; however, in less windy regions, they may not be able to compete with the costs of other sources of energy generation.
For more information about the benefits or challenges of Alberta wind energy, visit energy.gov, or contact energyrates.ca to learn more about how you can incorporate wind energy into your Alberta rate plan.