Pros and Cons of Wind and Solar Energy

Pros and Cons of Wind and Solar Energy

What are Wind and Solar Energies?

Wind and solar energy, both are environmentally friendly ways of generating energy. Both of them are much-needed gifts for the energy sector. These energy sources use natural and free resources to produce electricity and other useful energies. They are viable alternatives to fossil fuels and have helped us to reduce our reliance on them for power generation.

Wind energy

Wind turbines generating renewable energy

As mentioned earlier, wind energy is a regenerative source of energy. It produces electricity with the help of moving winds. Energy-generating machines, also known as wind turbines are installed in areas with constant wind movements. The turbine blades capture the mechanical energy of the air and retain it. When the wind moves or passes over the blades, the generator starts converting the stored kinetic energy into electricity. This electricity is then used by the general public for many different purposes.

Solar energy

Solar Panels absorbing sustainable energy

Just as wind is a free and unlimited resource for us, the sun also blesses us with an abundant and renewable resource, i.e. sunlight. The light and heat generated by the sun and absorbed by the earth’s surface are very well utilized in the process of solar energy. Different solar technologies are used for this purpose. The photovoltaic cells in these technologies capture the radiations of the sun that falls on the earth. These cells are responsible for converting the radiation into electricity.

Being renewable resources, wind and solar energy both are transforming into one of the most preferred power generation methods. As a result, they have started to occupy a major part of the energy sector along with other renewable methods. Adopting wind and solar energy will create an ideal mix in the energy sector that is needed for the improvement of the ecological system and the conservation of scarce resources. But still, there are some drawbacks associated with them that cannot be ignored. 

To execute these methods in the desired way, we must focus on surmounting these drawbacks and reap the benefits in the most efficient way to counterbalance the challenges. For this purpose, we must understand the merits and demerits of wind and solar energy.

What are the Pros and Cons of Wind Energy?

Pros of Wind Energy

  • A sustainable source

Wind energy is a renewable way of creating energy. It doesn't restrain natural resources as a free and abundant resource is being used to produce energy. Wind is available everywhere and we will never run out of it. It generates electricity in a ‘green’ way i.e. without emitting greenhouse gasses like CO2 or Methane. It doesn't have adverse effects on the environment and nurtures it while efficiently utilizing the provided renewable resources.     

  • Economical 

Another advantage of wind energy is that it is budget-friendly for governments. Unlike traditional energy grids, wind turbines do not necessarily require high maintenance costs, only simple and occasional maintenance expenses are incurred. The energy sector does not have to spend bundles of money on turbine production as the production process is not long. The initial investments needed are also comparatively small. 

  • Takes less space

This benefit of wind energy fits the saying ‘one arrow two shots' really well. Wind energy enables the efficient usage of wind and land. Wind turbines take less space for their set-up. The standing position of the turbines allows the usage of land for other purposes like agriculture, cattle feeding, etc. Despite taking up very little space, wind turbines can convert mechanical energy into electricity excellently.

  • Job Creation 

Wind Power also plays an important role in improving the graph of income and employment within the economy. It creates job opportunities in the renewable sector like maintenance, production, etc. It creates various employment opportunities for the local population. 

  • Easy and quick installation 

The thin and adjustable design of wind turbines enables easy and quick set-up. After increased reliance on wind energy, the need to install huge energy grids everywhere can be reduced to an extent. It also reduces the heavy cost of installation which used to be incurred while setting up energy grids. Wind turbines can be easily and economically installed in remote and isolated areas, even in areas where installing energy grids is not possible. Turbines can be designed as per the need as the size doesn't matter for power production. 

Cons of Wind Energy

  • Unstable wind supply

Even Though wind is available in all places, its pace is not the same everywhere. The speed at which wind moves is hugely influenced by the location and weather conditions. Some wind turbines’ production capacity is restricted to a limit i.e. they can’t produce electricity below the speed limit. This intermittence of wind can cause irregularity in power generation and could be a failure in fulfilling the electricity demand.   

  • Imminent danger to wildlife

Wind energy machines can impact the local wildlife. The turbines act as a threat to the birds, bats, and other flying creatures nearby turbines. Most of the birds or bats that get hit by the blades die. In rare cases some of them can survive, otherwise it could be fatal for them. Research is being conducted to avoid these situations to a limit and reduce the all-time risk of flying creatures.  

  • Discomfort for locals

Wind turbines can be a distress for the people residing nearby. The reason is that when generators start their work they create irritable noise. It can be annoying for the residents to deal with it daily. It also creates visual displacement. Some may not prefer to use it because of their personal opinion that it wrecks the look of beautiful scenic views.

What are the Pros and Cons of Solar Energy?

image showing pros and cons of solar energy

Pros of Solar Energy

  • Reduction in electricity bill

Using solar energy for the fulfillment of electricity needs can help to cut down the electricity bill to an extent. Sun provides us with energy that is free of cost and that is what will be used for energy generation. This will reduce the dependence on energy grids. The government may pay people if they produce extra electricity and sell it to them. 

  • Technical upgradation

Over time, improvements and advancements have been seen in many of the technologies around the world. So has been seen in solar technologies. Various new advancements have contributed to the efficiency of solar cells. Technological updates help to decrease the prices which enhances the affordability for households.  

  • Renewable energy

Solar energy is a clean and free source of energy. Just like wind, sunlight is abundant as well. There is no risk of running out of this resource; therefore, it can be used as much as we want. It does not cause harm to the environment by not releasing harmful gasses during the production process. No harm is caused to the environment and the balance is maintained. 

  • Energy independence

Electricity through solar energy is generated with the help of sunlight. This sunlight is available almost everywhere which enables independent energy generation. It reduces dependence on the energy grids. Solar panels with a battery system make it easier for households to completely rely on this.

Cons of Solar Energy

  • Large space occupation

Solar panels take up lots of space to set up. Installation of wirings and panels occupy large space which makes it difficult for the people with small areas to get it installed. Even if the small plants are installed in small areas, they won’t be able to produce much electricity. However, research is being conducted to design innovative and adjustable solar panels which can be helpful even in small areas.

  • Impacts on Environment

We have seen in the pros section that solar energy is a renewable energy source. Although it does not contribute to the increased emission of greenhouse gasses, it still has some adverse effects on the environment. Solar panels are made up of materials like quartz and metal and therefore, its production process requires extraction of these materials which can lead to strain on natural resources. The dismantling of solar panels can release harmful gasses if not handled properly 

  • Initial costs

Installing solar panels to meet day-to-day electricity needs can put heavy weight on the pockets of the general public. Solar panels do not need large space only, they require ‘not-so-affordable’ investments as well. This can be challenging for small-scale businesses and households in terms of affordability and installation. But not forget, constant evolution in technologies is being seen and as a result, reductions in prices are expected to be seen.

Conclusion

Concluding the above points, it is proven that both wind and solar energy are helpful sources of renewable energy. Both methods improve the condition of the environment and at the same time pose some pros and cons as well. This shows that the energy is only partially reliable. It's better to develop a balance between different types of renewable energies and use the pros as strengths and make the cons ineffective to utilize these energies efficiently. Moving ahead, it is important to continue the search for discovery and advancement. By doing so, we can make renewable energy sources more accessible from government to civilians. For this to be executed properly, let us remain committed to progress and collective growth for a better future. 

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