With the rising cost of fossil fuels and ever decreasing availability it is more imperative now than ever before to find alternative sources of energy. One of the frontrunners for one day replacing today’s traditional means of energy production is wind power. The use of wind turbines to create electricity has increase rapidly in the last decade. Many European countries have had success with turbines and they now produce a good chunk of electricity in Denmark(21%), Portugal(18%), Spain(16%) and a number of other countries. In May 2009 it was reported that over 80 countries around the world now use wind power on a commercial basis. Wind turbines in the United States don’t yet produce a large amount of electricity but their usage has grown steadily in the last 10 years. As of 2010 wind power produces 2.3% of electricity in the United States and the countries megawatt capacity is second only to China.

There are many advantages of wind power over traditional means of energy production. Wind turbines require very little space compared to power plants. The land underneath can be used for other purposes, the most popular of which is farmland. Wind power produces no CO2 emissions and turbines are relatively quiet. Wind turbines are now available in all shapes and sizes and are starting to become popular for private use in some states. Wind turbines built by the state on private farmland provide an average of 3,000 to 5,000 dollars per year per turbine for the landowner in rental income. It is estimated by the Department of Energy that by 2030 20% of the country’s energy could be produced by wind turbines including 4% from offshore turbines. Massachusetts may become the first state with an offshore wind farm if the Nantucket Sound project stays on schedule.cape_wind.jpg
Link to Mass.Maritime Turbine Construction
Wind turbines are much easier to maintain then other sources of power. Once they are up and running they require some general maintenance to keep them running at optimal conditions. Using wind power as a primary means of electricity production would alleviate the country on its dependence on foreign oil. Some of the drawbacks to wind power are the noise, which is only noticeable if you are very close, the possible danger to birds, and the lack of regular wind in some areas of the U.S., particularly in the Southeast region. In my opinion and from the arguments I have read the benefits greatly outweigh the costs.

Another source of renewable energy that has had promising results and is becoming very popular is solar energy. Solar energy works by harnessing radiant heat and light from the Sun. Collected solar energy can be stored in batteries until needed and allow for energy use on cloudy days. Solar power systems have many advantages over conventional means of energy production. Solar power does not produce harmful emmisions or negatively affect the enviroment in any way. Solar cells can last a lifetime and require very little maintenance. A wide variety of inventions can be powerered by solar including cars, houses, buildings and satellites. The only real disadvantages are the lack of sunlight in some parts of the world and the relatively high cost of solar cells.solar_plane.jpg

Currently solar power only accounts for a fraction of a percent of total energy production in the United States, but some studies show that it could account for up to 10% by 2025.