Wind Power: Advantages and Disadvantages

by:Camille Dishongh and Serena Finnerty


-Widely distributed
-Cheap: on its way to being the cheapest way to produce energy on a large scale, price has come down 80% since the 80s. U.S. DOE estimates that wind can be produced for 4 to 6 cents per kilowatt/hour
-Generates no pollution, clean fuel source: don’t give off emissions that cause acid rain
-Believed to diminish the greenhouse effect
-More permanent: wind will exist as long as the sun exists
-Readily available
-Wind energy replaces electricity from coal
-Available worldwide, available in many locations where electrical grid doesn’t reach
-Can be used on a commercial and residential scale
-Benefits farmers that allow wind turbines to be on their property
-Prices will not inflate like resources like gas
-Wind turbines are self-sufficient
-Underground air compressed storage very popular


-Even though wind power is not polluting, the turbines that have been built to create wind power cause a lot noise, which indirectly adds to noise pollution
-Unpredictable: can’t completely depend on wind
-Critics wonder if wind energy can be depended upon in areas of high demand
-Provides uneven power supply. Winds during hurricane season are too powerful and can damage turbines
-Wind turbine disrupt local landscape
-Initial costs of turbines are very expensive
-Transmission of energy from remote wind farms can be difficult because many turbines are not located in urban areas
-Environmentalists believe that turbines negatively affect the path of migrating birds. Also birds have been killed form flying into the rotors
-More research is needed on how to store excess energy form turbines
-Has to compete with the low prices from fossil fuel plants
-Can interfere with television signals within 2 miles of homes
-Have an undesirable appearance
-The turbines can be damaged in thunderstorms do to the turbines thin shape

How is Wind Energy Stored?

- Trap it in underground caverns
- More research is necessary to learn easier ways on how to store it
- The three main wind power storage methods currently being implemented are battery, compressed air and hydrogen.
o Battery- The wind generated can be fed into batteries- the charged batteries can then be used when the wind is not turning the turbines
o Compressed Air- The wind generated is converted into compressed air which is stored in above ground tanks or under ground caverns
o Hydrogen- Some places has stored the wind in hydrogen fuel cells

How does Wind Energy Work?

1. Wind causes the blades to move.
2.The blades turn a shaft inside the box at the top of the turbine (known as a nacelle)
3. The shaft goes into a gearbox which increases the rotation speed enough for the generator which converts the rotational energy into electrical energy. These are similar to those found in normal power stations.
4. The power output goes to a transformer, which converts the electricity coming out of the generator at around to the right voltage for distribution system.
5. The national grid transmits the power around the country.

external image how_wind_turbine_works.jpg

Img: Artists concept of the storage tech. Credit: Sandia National Laboratories
Img: Artists concept of the storage tech. Credit: Sandia National Laboratories