WIND ENERGY

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WIND ENERGY : 

WIND ENERGY By: Jerry Higgins and Ashley Harris

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Wind energy offers a viable, economical alternative to conventional power plants in many areas of the country. Wind is a clean fuel; wind farms produce no air or water pollution because no fuel is burned.

Advantages : 

Advantages Clean Water: Turbines produce no particulate emissions that contribute to mercury contamination in our lakes and streams. Wind energy also conserves water resources. For example, producing the same amount of electricity can take about 600 times more water with nuclear power than wind, and about 500 times more water with coal than wind.· Clean Air: Other sources of electricity produce harmful particulate emissions which contribute to global climate change and acid rain. Wind energy is pollution free.· Mining & Transportation: Harvesting the wind preserves our resources because there no need for destructive resource mining or fuel transportation to a processing facility.· Land Preservation: Wind farms are spaced over a large geographic area, but their actual "footprint" covers only a small portion of the land resulting in a minimum impact on crop production or livestock grazing. Large buildings cannot be built near the turbine, thus wind farms preserve open space

Disadvantages : 

Disadvantages · A Variable Resource: Turbines produce electricity only when the wind blows. This variability is monitored and compensated in the same way utilities monitor demand changes each day, so there are not any actual changes in power supply for the end users.· Aesthetics: People have widely varied reactions to seeing wind turbines on the landscape. Some people see graceful symbols of economic development and environmental progress or sleek icons of modern technology. Others might see industrial encroachment in natural and rural landscapes. There are many ways to minimize the visual impact of wind turbines, including painting them a neutral color, arraying them in a visually pleasing manner, and designing each turbine uniformly.· Shadow Flicker: Shadow flicker occurs when the blades of the rotor cast a shadow. Research has shown the worst-case conditions would affect, by way of light alteration, neighboring residents a total of 100 minutes per year, and only 20 minutes per year under normal circumstances.

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· Noise: Wind turbines are not silent. The sounds they produce are typically foreign to the rural settings where wind turbines are most often used, but as turbine technology has improved over the years, the amount of noise has fallen considerably. The sounds of wind turbines do not interfere with normal activities, such as quietly talking to one’s neighbor.· Biological Resource Impacts: As with any construction project or large structure, wind energy can impact plants and animals, depending on the sensitivity of the area. Direct fatalities from collisions or electrocutions and loss of wildlife habitat and natural vegetation are the primary wildlife concerns associated with wind energy. Extensive environmental impact analysis are integral of project development to mitigate impacts as much as possible.· Construction: Wind systems can involve the transportation of large and heavy equipment. This can cause a large temporarily disturbed area near the turbines. Erosion is another potential environmental problem that can stem from construction projects. The single most reliable technique for limiting erosion is to avoid grading roads and to perform site reclamation post construction.· Radar: Radar interference by wind turbines is rare and easily avoided through technological improvements and proper siting of turbines that are close to sensitive areas. A number of U.S. government installations have both wind turbines and functional radar, and the British military has a track record of successfully addressing these challenges

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Revitalizes Rural Economies: Wind energy can diversify the economies of rural communities, adding to the tax base and providing new types of income. Wind turbines can add a new source of property taxes in rural areas that otherwise have a hard time attracting new industry. Each 100 MW of wind development in southwest Minnesota has generated about $1 million per year in property tax revenue and about $250,000 per year in direct lease payments to landowners

Slide 7: 

Fact: The Longhorns beat the Wacky Aggies

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