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Wind power

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Wind power

Wind powerWith the environmental concerns the world has been facing lately, there has been an increased effort to find reliable, sustainable energy sources. If societies can turn to renewable energy to fill their power needs, the consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels will be slowed and possibly even stopped. One of the solutions presented is wind power.
Similar to how solar energy converts the sun's rays into usable electricity, wind turbines can convert wind into usable electricity for homes and offices. World-wide, wind energy only accounts for approximately 1% of electricity use. However, the popularity is increasing and in some countries, it has become a sizeable part of the energy plan. For example, about 19% of Denmark's electricity production is from wind.
Wind power is generated by the rotating turbine that spins when the wind passes over it. There are many large-scale wind farms that are connected to a community's power grid and help generate a portion of their electricity. There are also some isolated regions that have wind farms on a much smaller scale, but are also able to use wind energy as a power source.
The advantages to wind power are many. Wind as a resource of the Earth is quite plentiful – it exists in all climates and regions. As well, wind is not only renewable, but it won't be use up in the process of gathering power from it. Wind turbines are clean energy and produce lower greenhouse gas emissions.
Though the potential for wind power is great, there are still some problems with it that countries such as the United States are running in to. Massachusetts is planning a large off-shore wind farm in Cape Cod which will ultimately help generate a significant amount of power to the state. However, the plan stalled for many years because of concerns about the visual impact the turbines would have. Many residents of Massachusetts felt the large amount of turbines would not be aesthetically pleasing and as a result would negatively impact property values and tourism dollars.
There have also been concerns raised from environmentalists about the impact of the turbines on wildlife such as birds and bats that run the risk of flying into the area. In reality there is little information on the mortality rate of birds or bats as a result of turbines, and the argument has been raised that it's not possible to compare the risk of a wind farm against the risk of other environmental factors many animal species suffer from as a result of human activities, including impacts of using non-renewable resources for power.
Perhaps the biggest issue that is keeping the U.S. from making a large-scale conversion to wind power is the antiquated power system that transfers electricity through cities and towns. In New York, a large wind farm that is capable of generating plentiful electricity is often forced to shut down when the amount of power generated exceeds the grid's ability to transfer it all. The power lines that connect cities to the outlying areas are not built to handle large amounts of electricity transfers. Until states and the federal government can come up with a reasonable plan to upgrade the power lines and allow for the energy generated by wind, wind power as a significant, renewable energy source may be out of reach.


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