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  • Writer's pictureZach Boone

Wind: The Way of The Future

Updated: Mar 31, 2021


By Zach Boone




Wind: The Way of the Future



By Zach Boone


Wind energy -a cost-effective solution or a costly attempt to compete with traditional energy sources? An excellent way to combat climate change or a danger to surrounding habitats? A job creator or a job destroyer? Wind energy is more controversial than one might think. Although some of these concerns are valid, many of them are based on misconceptions that have easy solutions. Like many other climate conundrums, we must consider the tradeoffs and choose the best we have. Based on the research I looked at, wind energy is better than any non-renewable energy for a variety of reasons. The United States’ increased investment in wind energy will save us money, help fight climate change and create millions of blue-collar jobs.


Firstly, there have been concerns that wind energy is more expensive than non-renewable energy sources. It is one of the most commonly mentioned worries about the United States increasing its reliance on wind power. This is actually correct compared to power plants that have already been built. However, they are cheaper than building any other type of new power plant.¹ According to the United States Department of Energy, with that being taken into account, wind power is the cheapest source of energy currently available. (See chart below.)² Wind energy also has the added advantage of increasing energy independence in the U.S. In 2013, the United States spent 300 Billion dollars on foreign oil imports.³


Another aspect to consider is the impact windmills will have on birds in their surrounding areas. A U.S. Fish and Wildlife survey projects 140,000 to 500,000 birds are killed by windmills each year.⁴ This is an alarming statistic and a legitimate problem. In my opinion, it is the most convincing argument in opposition to wind turbines. Fortunately, there is a simple solution. Scientists from Norway discovered that bird deaths drop by 70 percent when windmills tips are painted black.⁵ This helps make the windmill more visible against the sky and creates a “motion smear” which alerts the birds. Although this is a great discovery, it does not stop bird deaths completely. Windmills are not perfect, but they’re a lot better than the competition. Non-renewable energy like oil, natural gas, and coal release CO2 and methane into the atmosphere which warms the earth. The change in temperature will kill far more animals than windmills. According to a report by the United Nations, 1 million entire species of animals are threatened by climate change.⁶


But what about all the Americans who have jobs in non-renewable energy? While the environment is very important, the economic impacts are also worth considering. After analyzing this issue, it seems clear that this fear is misguided. Green jobs already outnumber fossil fuel jobs 3 to 1.⁷ And that number will only grow, as windmills become cheaper and sources like coal become obsolete. In fact, ‘wind technician’ is the second fastest-growing job in America through 2026, almost doubling in growth.⁸ Green energy will actually create jobs for people laid off in dying industries like coal, through transferable skills. As this begins to happen in more red states, public opinion may begin to shift.


Therefore, wind energy, along with other renewable sources, are the way of the future. Wind energy will not only help stop climate change, but will also save money and create jobs. America has a history of being at the forefront of technology. Some try to hang on to the past by pushing misconceptions or full-on lies.⁹ But we must stick to science and create a more prosperous future.


The chart below shows the price of various energy sources





Berke, Jeremy. “A New Report Shows Where Our Energy Will Come from 30 Years from Now - and Coal Is the Biggest Loser.” Business Insider, Business Insider, 21 June 2018, www.businessinsider.com/energy-report-suggests-rise-in-renewables-as-coal-declines-2018-6.



Sources

1. Fares, Robert. “Wind Energy Is One of the Cheapest Sources of Electricity, and It's Getting Cheaper.” Scientific American Blog Network, Scientific American, 28 Aug. 2017

2. “Advantages and Challenges of Wind Energy.” Energy.gov

3. Anderson, Richard. “How American Energy Independence Could Change the World.” BBC News, BBC, 2 Apr. 2014

4. Loss, Soctt, et al. “Wind Turbines.” U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service - Department of the Interior, 14 Oct. 2013

5. Kinver, Mark. “Black Turbine Blade 'Can Cut Bird Deaths'.” BBC News, BBC, 26 Aug. 2020

6. “UN Report: Nature's Dangerous Decline 'Unprecedented'; Species Extinction Rates 'Accelerating' – United Nations Sustainable Development.” United Nations, United Nations, 6 May 2020

7. Technology, Energy Innovation: Policy and. “Renewable Energy Job Boom Creates Economic Opportunity As Coal Industry Slumps.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 22 Apr. 2019

8. Technology, Energy Innovation: Policy and. “Renewable Energy Job Boom Creates Economic Opportunity As Coal Industry Slumps.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 22 Apr. 2019

9. Burke, Michael. “Trump Claims Wind Turbine 'Noise Causes Cancer.” TheHill, 3 Apr. 2019

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