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Wind Turbines Essay

1555 words - 7 pages

“A wind turbine is a machine for converting the kinetic energy in wind into mechanical energy”. (1) The inventor of the first electric wind turbine was Clevelander Charles Brush, who ran his entire Euclid Avenue mansion off of one for 20 years, which later made the cover of Scientific American in 1888. (2) Although the use of alternate energy didn't rise a great deal afterward, this event did open the eyes for many environmentalists. Wind power is only one of our several “energy source[s] whose ‘fuel’ is free and will never be exhausted” (3) with the pros and cons not completely weighed out as to whether it will be truly beneficial or not. The two main issues regarding wind turbines are ...view middle of the document...

The constructions of the turbines alone are creating an effect on these mammals because of the frequency of noise that is emitted into the water. These frequencies disrupt mammal communication, location and location of other species around them.
One other environmental factor regarding wind turbines, especially the wind farms, is that “erecting and maintaining wind turbines can also necessitate clearing land: ridgeline installations often require a fair amount of deforestation, and then there's the associated clearing for access roads, maintenance facilities, and the like”. (7) Although we are trying to help the environment by creating a safer and cleaner source of energy, the actions of clearing our forests, and whatever ecosystem that lived in that forest, in order to save the environment appears to be an oxymoron. “But there are also now a great many turbines situated on farmland, where the fields around their bases are still actively farmed”. (8)
The long term effects of this issue could be devastating if precautions are not taken. Small rodents are known to find shelter at the base of the large wind turbines, luring different bird species to wind farms causing a higher death rate for the birds. The wind farms are also unfortunately located in the migration routes for many birds. These types of issues have to be analyzed further to make wind farms efficient and economically safe for all species.
The cost effectiveness of wind turbines individually owned may be of some concern, but wind farms have proven efficient and profitable. Andrew Falk, “addressed one of the biggest obstacles for wind energy in Minnesota. The issue is that most of the state’s wind resources are located away from electrical hubs of metropolitan areas and there is a lack of transmission lines facilitating the transfer”. (9) Similar with the reading we did on “High Hopes for Hydrogen”, where hydrogen was said to be more costly to store and transport than gasoline, making energy companies produce the fuel cells all over the country, with each generation plants serving a regional market. The integration process would be slow until there was more emphasis on its use in society. It will be true with wind turbines as well; more transmission lines will be needed to make them more appealing for the general public and businesses.
Another problem with building wind turbines is that you are placed on a waiting list in order to be able to build one and “waiting lists now fall somewhere in the vicinity of a year-and-a-half to two years”. (10) The wait may not be too long considering the benefits that they can provide, but then building one becomes an even more difficult issue because there is “the necessity of one of only six cranes in the country that are capable of hoisting the turbine’s pieces into place”. (11) The construction also takes months and even years, if you are planning a wind farm. After all this work, some people would question whether or not it...

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