Wind power currently serves about 0.1 percent of the entire electrical demand of the world today. There are several sources of energy that society uses today and the most prevalent source used is coal power. The need for a stronger, renewable, energy source is necessary as the consequences of the use of coal and other nonrenewable sources become more obvious. However, the costs of changing our energy resource is substantial and the reliability of these energies are inconsistent. Wind power is one of these renewable energy sources and though it is clean and renewable, there are factors that postpone the use of wind power. The costs of using and maintaining wind power as a substantial source of energy would be inefficient to the United States because of challenges posed by wind power, such as intermittency and spatial distribution of wind resources, the lack of financial backing by the government and other industries, and the relatively expensive cost of building transmission lines to transport wind energy long distances.
Wind power has been used for thousands of years. Wind energy pushed boats along the Nile River as early as five thousand B.C. Windmills were first used in China and Persia about two thousand two hundred years ago. By one thousand one hundred A.D., they were common across Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. By the eleventh century Middle Eastern people were using windmills for food production, an idea which merchants and other crusaders brought back with them to Europe (Petersen 20). In the nineteenth century, settlers began using windmills to pump water for agriculture and, eventually, to generate electricity for their homes. However, with the industrialization period, the use of wind energy declined (U.S. Department of Energy). As energy consumption has increased, the reliance on nonrenewable energy sources, like coal power and crude oil, has increased because of the cheapness and availability of coal. This reliance on coal and crude oil has contributed to the increase of carbon dioxide and other pollutants in the air.
Wind power is a renewable energy source, which means it is inexhaustible. Wind is created by the sun, which heats up regions of the earth unevenly (Naff 10). Wind energy does not release carbon dioxide, sulphur dioxide, or other air pollutants. It is available everywhere on Earth (Walker 24). These facts make wind power seem like a good alternative to nonrenewable source, however, there are other factors to consider. The intermittence and spatial distribution of wind resources are large factors. Intermittence is the inefficiency of wind turbines due to inconstant winds. Since wind farms in the United States are relatively small, intermittence plays a large factor in the efficiency of wind farms. Larger wind farms offset the costs of intermittence by generating more power and storing it for times of intermittence. Inaccurate wind forecasts can also contribute to intermittence in energy availability. Accurate wind forecasts and system operating schedules are important in generating wind energy. Wind can be inconsistent though, even with projected forecasts and schedules. Wind turbines also require space. An increase in the wind power sector would increase the need for cheap land, low population density, and strong wind resources. Land near cities is often significant to the city’s population or