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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Wind Farms

Property Owners and the Debate on Wind Energy

In today’s age of energy crisis, we are constantly looking for new ways to supply our energy needs. Using up all of the resources we currently have and pollution of air and water are major concerns. Wind energy is emerging throughout the world. It requires turbines of all different sizes, depending upon the need of the energy, ranging from one home or small business to entire communities. These turbines have propeller like projections that can sometimes be 200 feet long mounted on towers that reach high into the sky. They catch the wind, which turns the propellers, which produces energy when the turbines go to work. These larger than life windmills are sometimes by themselves and other times in groups we sometimes refer to as wind farms. There’s a great debate on these “wind farms” since they have to be placed somewhere. Who’s going to give up the land? Who’s going to pay for it? What are the pros and cons? These questions will continue to decide the future of wind energy.
Scientists do a lot of research finding out where the most proficient wind is, and then decide what the energy will be used for. Whatever they decide, there is always a property owner who will or will not want it happen. If it’s farmland, the space used for crop production will be given up. If it’s grazing land for livestock, that much land must be taken over for the wind turbines. Some landowners see the benefits, others see the downside. Some scientists think that offshore wind energy could account for the energy that could supply an entire nation. . Wind energy is clean, producing no green house gasses, renewable, and as long as there is sun, there is wind, therefore never running out. The wildlife hazards and other environmental concerns are minimal compared to other sources of energy.
What’s the downfall? It does ruin the view of a beautiful setting off of your back deck. The noise and construction is another nuisance. The space taken up by one wind turbine is roughly an acre, but must include an access road. However, during the construction of setting one up, the landowner loses more land during that time. Some are worried about the hazards these turbines provide for wildlife such as birds and bats. The cost to set up the turbines is incredibly expensive, but once the project is completed the energy cost is minimal. The cost of electricity is about 4¢ per kilowatt-hour The government does have tax incentives for land owners housing the turbines but one must decide if it’s worth it to live under three or four 200 foot long turbines. I think it’s definitely something worth it that should continue to prosper, but we shouldn’t be reliant on only one source of energy. As you see, there is much more research to be done.

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