WIND POWER: Do the pluses outweigh the negative impacts?

Do the pluses outweigh the
negative impacts?
Annelise Przywara, Carl Von Glahn,
Eleanor Laffey & Ammar Sabanovic
What is wind power?
---> Power that captures the natural wind in our
atmosphere and converts it into mechanical energy then
●Wind power is a form of solar energy- result of uneven heating of the
atmosphere by the sun
●Wind energy has been utilized for many years (windmills and sailboats)
●Modern turbines harness wind’s kinetic energy and convert it into electricity
●Most turbines have three blades and sit atop a steel tubular tower
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Major types
● Utility-scale wind
● Distributed or small wind
● Offshore wind
Off shore
Wind Farm
How it works
● Wind blows past a turbine and the blades capture the
energy as it rotates
● A shaft that is connected to a gearbox makes it spin
● All of this is connected to a generator that makes
Consists of:
● steel tubular tower(up to 325 ft)
● gearbox, generator and controls
The turbines are all made with wind assessment
equipment to pick up the wind and rotate automatically.
American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)
Inside a Wind Turbine
Clean Energy Source
No radioactive waste
Space efficient
Prices have decreased over 80%
since 1980
● Low operational costs- only cost
is construction and maintenance
Intermittent power source
Threat to wildlife
Habitat fragmentation
Noise & Wind turbine syndrome
Wind is a Clean Energy Source
● Harnessing wind does not pollute environment AT ALL!
● No emissions of carbon into the atmosphere
● No acid rain
*According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Wind
Vision, if we increase our nation’s wind energy
capacity by 20% by 2030, it would:
- Reduce greenhouse gas emissions
- A cumulative total of 7,600 million tons of carbon
dioxide would be avoided by 2030, and more than
15,000 million tons of carbon dioxide would be
avoided by 2050
No radioactive waste
Why is radioactivity bad?
●Radioactive waste is hazardous to life and
the environment
●Has to be isolated when disposed
Comparing wind to other forms:
Nuclear - produces mass amounts of
radioactive waste
Coal - produces carbon dioxide
Gas - releases methane,nitrous oxide, and
fluorinated gases
Originates from the nuclear fusion processes
that take place on the sun
- Form of solar energy since winds are caused by the
heating of the atmosphere by the sun, rotation of
earth, & the earth’s surface irregularities
●Naturally occurring
o As long as sun shines and the wind blows the energy
produced can be harnessed
*Not the case for oil & natural gas; their supplies will be
Space Efficient
● The largest wind turbines are capable of
generating enough electricity to meet the
energy demand of 600 average U.S. homes
● Turbines can’t be placed too close to each
Land in between can be used for other things
Ex.) Farming
Project Guidelines
❏ Projects must go through permitting
process at Federal, State and Local levels
❏ Must Address:
Wild and habitat issues
Military and nonmilitary infrastructure
NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) is the opposition of a proposal
by residents for a new development that is near them
Wind Energy Costs
Main Costs for Wind Energy:
● For a land based wind project, 70% or more of the cost is
primarily from purchasing the wind turbine.
○ Installation takes up the rest of the Capital Costs.
● Once operating, maintenance is required by wind
technicians and operators
Other costs include:
-financing, permitting, cost/availability of skilled labor,
and the economy of the surrounding community.
Advancements in Technology = Lower Costs
Since 1980, the demand for wind energy has greatly
increased while the cost has been decreasing.
●Taller towers and longer lighter blades have increased
production and capacity
●Prices have decreased over 80% since 1980
Intermittent Power Source
● Unpredictable
● Wind doesn’t always blow
● Availability is not constant
*Hope for breakthroughs in storage
Threat to Wildlife
● New study (September 2014)
● Passerine birds most common
less than 0.01% collide
130,000-230,000 out of 5 billion
● All bird species
Habitat Fragmentation
● Require so much land
● Building roads and transmission lines are
● Other species can move into the area
● Can upset hunters
retrieved from: Journal of Wildlife Management
● How wind turbines look is a concern for
some people
● Too big, too many all in one place
Noise & Wind Turbine Syndrome
Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS) - produces
several symptoms related to the vestibular
system’s (balance) organs:
●disturbed sleep
●headaches, tinnitus (ear ringing)
●sense of quivering or vibration
●rapid heartbeat
●difficulty with concentration
●memory loss
●irritability and anger
★ The pluses of wind power do outweigh the
negatives impacts.
● Doesn’t pollute environment
● Renewable
● Prices decreasing