Student Interest

Windmills – A Clean Machine

Windmills are currently the number one most efficient way of producing clean, renewable electricity. Not only are they over 450% more cost-effective than nuclear or solar energy, but they are 50 times more effective than using natural resources such as coal or oil. This makes producing and using wind turbines a near perfect, clean energy source – but there are still some issues that one must look out for when producing and using windmills. Noise pollution, effectiveness, as well as wildlife impact are all things that need to be taken into account before windmills can be used as the ‘perfect’ clean power source.

Noise pollution is one of the first major issues that comes up whilst discussing wind turbines. Because these machines are constantly producing a low frequency noise that tends to be ‘judged as more annoying… and tend to travel through walls and windows’ Due to this, proximity to humans must be taken into account when building turbines, as not only do these sounds annoy people, but this sound can be extremely disruptive for sleeping schedules, leading to brain as well as muscle fatigue.

The productivity of a windmill must be taken into account as well. While using wind energy is a 100% clean, renewable resource – the wind isn’t always blowing, which leads to wind farms producing sub-optimal power. A slowing wind farm also needs unclean energy to be used in order to kick-start the mills again once ‘wind speeds die down’.This means that without the wind constantly blowing, not only do wind farms take up space and materials without producing energy, but unclean fuel is spent to keep them running.

A final factor to consider is the wildlife around the area. Hundreds of thousands of birds populate the Earth, and windmills pose a rather large threat to them – large, sharp, spinning metal blades hundreds of feet in the air can injure and even kill birds that attempt to fly through places where the blades rotate. For example, in Texas, a landowner in the small town of McCamey states that ‘bird kills… are a problem.’ This issue persists anywhere wind turbines are located, and continues to be an issue.

Wind turbines are almost certainly the optimal way to produce cost-efficient, clean energy, but issues with noise, effectivity, as well as wildlife need to be taken care of and addressed before they can become a truly viable option.

Categories: Student Interest

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