As modern society searches around for alternative energy sources, wind farms are getting mention. There are, however, limitations regarding wind farms as major energy alternatives.
Wind Farms – Limitations as Energy Platforms
Wind power is an enticing energy platform compared to fossil fuels. The process works by using the inherent energy in wind as a method for producing electricity. The actual methodology is much like hydropower, but with wind used in place of water. Wind turbines catch the wind, which turns their blades. This turning motion cranks a generator that produces electricity. The electricity is stored in batteries or fed into the electrical grid of a utility. Walla, you have power!
Using wind power for localized needs has been around for a long time. The Persians are believed to be the first to use it with the purpose being to turn grain grinding stones. In modern times, the sole purpose is to generate electricity. On a large scale, this means wind farms.
Wind farms are simply large collections of wind turbines in a defined area. If you have ever driven east out of San Francisco, you have seen the wind farm along the freeway. While it is both intoxicating and a pollution free source of electricity, a wind farm has definite limitations.
The biggest limitation of wind farms is the electricity produced. Simply put, they do not produce massive amounts, certainly not on the scale needed in most cities in industrialized nations. Obviously, each location is different, but wind is simply not a constant occurrence in most places. Even when it is, the number of turbines required to produce enough energy for a city is mind boggling. This, of course, leads to a second limitation.
Wind farms need to cover a lot of physical space to produce large amounts of electricity. In many industrialized countries, space is at a premium. As a result, the sheer cost of purchasing land for wind farms is prohibitive. This issue, however, is losing some of its grit as offshore wind farms are becoming more prevalent.
To some, one of the limitations of wind farms is they are eyesores. Personally, I think they are mesmerizing and have an artistic appearance. Others, however, definitely do not agree. The Cape Wind offshore wind farm project has met with massive resistance for just this reason.
The limitations of wind farms are fairly significant at this point in time. As technology and new approaches, such as offshore wind farms, come to the forefront, these problems may fall the wayside.