Sep 062009

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Meet T. Boone Pickens, an unlikely spokesman for plant wind power. After making his billion-dollar fortune as an oil baron, T. Boone Pickens has had a change of heart and now actively advocates investing in resources renewable energy to take our energy consumption to the next level.

He’s currently investing hundreds of millions on a wind farm in Texas and his hedge fund, BP Capital, is aggressively expanding into the alternative wind energy market as well. He’s proposed a plan to wean America off oil over the next decade. While alternative wind energy is the fastest growing source of power, will it be the best solution?

wind power pros and cons
In looking at the wind power facts, let’s first look at the benefits of using turbine wind energy. First off, wind turbines are a clean, domestic source of energy. The wind will never stop blowing, thereby providing an endless source of power if we harness it correctly, with the appropriate back-up generators.

This free source of energy won’t cause green house gases, create radioactive waste or emit pollutants either. So far our use of generators wind power has offset carbon dioxide emission by 2.5 billion pounds and reduced other pollutants by 15 million pounds. Compared to solar supply, geothermal and biomass energy, wind energy is relatively cheap. The Department of Energy predicts that alternative wind energy will cost as low as 4 to 6 cents per kilowatt hour in the coming years.

Wind power pros and cons also look at the sustainability of our planet. Another one of the obvious advantages of wind purchase power is that it does not consume any non-renewable resources or fossil fuels. Many of our resources come from coal, natural gas or oil and harm the environment in pursuit of these energy sources.

alternative wind energy
Rainforests are destroyed, mountains are dynamited, rivers are polluted and wildlife is marginalized. Comparatively, the construction and installation of these turbines creates limited environmental impact.

Even though the towers are tall, the land beneath them can still be used for farming, grazing, landscaping and other functions. Now we must look toward wind, solar and geothermal to remain competitive in the global marketplace.

While it may seem like there are ample positive reasons to go forth with a wind energy alternative, there are both wind power pros and cons in this debate. Critics claim that powering the country off turbine wind energy is simply not feasible.

generators wind power
They point out that areas like the U.S. gulf coast have such heavy hurricane winds that the damage to the turbines would be substantial. Additionally, midwest lightning storms will wreak havoc on wind turbine systems and cold areas will introduce the problem of dangerous ice build-up on the wings.

Naturally, not every area is windy enough to harness sufficient power either. “It’s very costly, and very inefficient for society as a whole,” said Paul Fremont, an electric-utility analyst at the investment bank Jefferies & Co. “Policy makers will have to decide if the benefits are worth it.”

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 Posted by at 8:52 am