Green Energy: Harnessing Wind Energy Essay

Submitted By Liampeck1
Words: 1226
Pages: 5

Wind Energy; Providing New Energy and New Complaints
The history of energy has an extensive timeline that goes back further than 700,000 B.C.E, to when humans first generated fire (Weart et al., 2011). As time would show, our fascination and subsequent need for energy became a massive industry across the globe. The demand for energy led us to look for alternative methods, and thus the use of coal, oil, natural gas, petroleum and nuclear energy in the 1950s. With our energy-consumed minds set on moving forward, we continued to use these forms of energy, all the while ignoring - or maybe simply forgetting the fact that one day these sources of energy will run out, as they are all finite (Tracy, 2012). In the recent years past, many scientist and environmental activists have taken a stand, declaring that we must change our ways and move forward into a new era of “green energy”. Well, if we take a look at that extensive timeline of energy, it can be noted that it’s all been done before! Early Europeans were harnessing energy through the use of waterwheels 1800 years ago, and the Persians were exploiting the wind to power turbines more than 1000 years ago! Green energy isn’t new, and it’s time it made a comeback, however, with change comes resistance. The use of wind turbines has been debated extensively in the past few years, with many against their implementation, and many for. The two sides both have their points to prove, of which will be discussed here further.
The popularity of wind energy has always fluctuated with the price of fossil fuels like oil and petroleum. Interest in wind turbines faded after the Second World War due to a drop in fuel prices (Unknown, 2012). By the 1970s, and as oil prices escalated, the interest in wind turbine generators grew, and today they account for a notable amount of some regions overall energy production. Some places are jumping on top of the “green energy bandwagon” and showing positive results. For example, “In 2011, about 17.5 per cent of Nova Scotia's energy mix came from renewable energy - wind, biomass and hydro. Of that amount, 7 per cent came from wind power” (Unknown, 2011). Now, seven percent may not seem like an enormous amount, but according to the Nova Scotia Department of Energy, that seven percent came from only 40 turbines. The positive affects of wind energy can be seen locally as well as abroad. The Groton farm turbines in Groton, New Hampshire are currently being assembled, with hopes that by January, Groton will be home to 40 new wind turbines. The Groton farm turbines will generate 48 megawatts of electricity, most of which will go to the Boston area due to a purchase agreement acquired by NStar, now a subsidiary of Northeast Utilities (Tracy, 2012). The electricity generated in Groton will serve 20,000 homes, and the amount of carbon-free power that will be generated is equal to taking 16,500 cars off the road or not burning around 200,000 barrels of oil a year according to Iberdrola Renewables (Tracy, 2012). For many years to come and with appropriate support, wind energy will power businesses and homes with clean renewable electricity, but only if the people against wind energy are overruled.
For as long as there has been wind energy, there has been opposition against it. Many arguments ranging from noise complaints to bird deaths, habitat destruction to unpredictable weather have all come up in debates. For every argument supporting wind turbines, there are just as many that say they are not a good idea. For example, “bird kill rate and disruption of habitat has been reported when industrial wind turbines are introduced into migratory bird paths or other environments” (Sprague et al., 2011). Wind turbines placed within migratory bird flight paths have been shown to kill birds, as they attempt to navigate through the giant moving blades. Many have also argued that wind turbines are a gamble, as wind is not a constant force. Because wind strengths come and go