Advantages and disadvantages of wind energy

Advantages and disadvantages of wind energy

According to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, renewable energies accounted for nearly 30% of UK electricity in 2017 Q2. In this article we look at the contribution wind energy makes, and the pros and cons of wind energy for electricity generation.

Offshore Wind Farm

What is wind energy?
As the name suggests, wind energy, or wind power, is the process whereby wind is used to generate electricity. Wind turbines convert the kinetic wind energy into mechanical power, which can be used for specific tasks or to turn into electricity.

A wind farm is a collection of wind turbines in the same location to create electricity. They can be installed onshore or offshore, for example the London Array is the largest offshore wind farm in the world with 175 turbines, 20km off the coast of Kent.

Recent statistics by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy show that in 2017 Q2 onshore wind generation increased by 50 per cent from a year earlier to 6.0 TWh, while offshore wind rose by 22 per cent, to 4.0 TWh. As wind farms become larger and more efficient, will this trend continue?

Onshore Wind Farm

Latest wind farm projects
Here are a couple of wind farm projects that are currently under construction:

Hornsea Project One
Hornsea Project One is an offshore wind farm that is being constructed on the east coast of Humberside. The first phase is for 1.2GW and 174 units of turbines. The project is due to be completed 2021.

Rampion Wind Farm
Rampion Wind Farm is an offshore wind farm development by E.ON with a proposed output of 400MW. It is currently under construction off the Sussex coast. The 116 turbine project is expected to be completed 2018.

East Anglia ONE
East Anglia ONE is an offshore wind farm by ScottishPower Renewables that is currently being constructed. The wind farm will consist of 102 turbines and will have a capacity to generate 714MW. East Anglia ONE is expected to complete 2019.

Now let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of wind energy…

Offshore Wind Farm

Advantages of wind energy
• Wind is a reliable and infinite renewable energy resource
• Wind energy is cost effective, and prices are dropping still
• Wind energy reduces carbon emissions when used instead of fossil fuels
• Few running costs when the turbines are up and running.
• Offshore wind farms can take advantage of offshore wind flow, without affecting the landscape view.

Disadvantages of wind energy
• Wind energy can be unpredictable as the amount of electricity generated is dependent on the speed and direction of the wind
• Wind farms can affect the visual appearance of the landscape
• Wind turbines can damage the habitats of birds and marine life.
• Wind farms can be expensive to construct

What are your thoughts? Is wind energy one of the technologies of the future for electricity generation? Let us know what you think on our LinkedIn post here.

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