Although none but Don Quixote (the satirical hero of Cervantesí novel having the same title) could ever pick up a fight with a windmill, people nevertheless are now finding fault with wind power or wind power generated electricity. In fact, the disadvantages of wind power are now coming into the surface like never before. Why is this the case? Let us find out.
Originally considered to be the ideal source of non-polluting power, the disadvantages of wind power are currently coming into view one by one. Ranked along with solar power as a clean, renewable power source, wind initially had marched several steps ahead of the solar power since it never stopped power generation even after sunset. It seemed that there were many advantages. But some of the significant disadvantages have currently created grave hazards for wind power that include the high cost of wind turbines and selection of optimum location for its installation. The turbines no doubt are complex equipment that requires maintenance at regular intervals while selection of appropriate location involves a large amount of money. Then there are the additional cost of battery banks and electronic controllers that check the charging of the batteries. The batteries themselves pose economic crisis as they need replacement after certain periods of time. The overall installation cost, as computed against their productivity in terms of money makes the picture rather dismal to proceed further.
Nevertheless, one of the primary disadvantages of wind power consists of its unpredictability. An abrupt turbulence resulting in a sudden hike in power generation through the large turbines installed in a wind farm may also come to a dead stop as the wind dies on the next instant. Besides, wind power varies from season to season on which none can have any control whatsoever, and this is yet another reason why the exact quantity of the power generated cannot be accurately predicted.
Yet another factor involves the high cost of turbines that cannot pay back the initial investment made on them in many cases. In urban areas the problem is more acute since most of the wind is blocked by skyscrapers and high rises that cuts into the inherent speed of the wind. As far as ideal remote locations are concerned, the land price there poses a threat to the project cost on the one hand, while transporting that current to the city area through high tension lines prove wasteful in most cases. Also, wind farms, despite their large scale productive arena usually have relatively low energy output. Running at optimum speed, the largest turbine can generate electricity to power around 400 homes only. For larger metropolitan areas having adequate population, mammoth wind farms are needed that may not be economically viable.
Compared to solar power generated electricity where noiseless solar panels silently generate current, wind power turbines create noise pollution with their high speed turbines whirring all the while. And in a big wind farm it could be deafening. Even small home turbines are now disbanded from most city areas for the same reason.
Besides, environmentalists strongly object towards setting up of large wind farms in remote areas where gales are usually active on the plea that migratory birds that depend on strong wind for their transatlantic journey at the beginning of the winter are likely to fly into the wind turbines and get killed. Wind farms also interfere with television reception if they fall in line with the transmission point. Thus it seems that wind farms are being objected to by many interest groups.
However, researchers have indicated that most of the disadvantages of wind power can be rectified in the near future and, working in combination with solar power, wind power will replace fossil fuel operated power houses, thereby halting global warming once for all. With emissions gone with wind and the greenhouse effect reduced to a bare minimum, a newer world free of all toxic matters will soon emerge where humanity can live in peace and full of health. Let us hope that we se that day quickly when the disadvantages of wind power are overcome.