Alternative sources of energy are becoming an increasingly popular source to replace fossil fuels. Environmental problems, such as global warming, are being attributed by scientists to the use of oil and coal to provide energy for businesses and residential neighborhoods. The increase in fossil fuel costs over the past few decades has also raised the interest in alternative sources and wind energy is one of the most well known and researched types. Through this article, we hope to prove that wind energy is not only already being used to power entire communities, but is also an effective way of providing energy in the future. While many alternative fuel sources are in the early stages of their research and development phases, wind energy has proven itself already.
Private Investment in Wind Energy
Unlike other renewable and sustainable energy sources, wind farms have gotten considerable amounts of private investment. Companies, such as Google, have invested millions of dollars into creating more efficient turbines to collect wind, but also in farms themselves. In some states in the western world, there are communities that are completely powered by wind energy. Large swathes of flat land are perfect for collecting the wind and utilizing it to power homes and businesses. One of the main reasons for the influx of investment into wind energy is the great amount of history that this technology has. Unlike algal fuel or tidal energy, the windmills have been used for hundreds of years to provide sustainable energy to our ancestors. Companies are spending more money to develop this older idea into a more viable solution to their own economic and energy woes. Investment comes in many forms, but private companies often want to build turbines that can more efficiently capture the wind and turn it into energy. This requires a lot of money, but as an alternative and renewable fuel source, the return on investment still makes this a viable option. In other cases, the private investment comes in the form of larger farms with hundreds of wind turbines. These are often called wind farms and produce energy for thousands of local residents. In some cases, they even provide small communities with all their energy.
Government Backed Wind Energy
As if the private incentives were not enough, there are fabulous government tax incentives and credits that are afforded companies who invest in wind energy. Alternative fuel sources help to fill the environmental agenda of most western nations, which allows them to justify the favoritism. Still, there is a long way to go before wind energy can produce the same kind of energy output as fossil fuels, but more capital is being spent on the wind farms every day. Unfortunately, the governments of the western world are facing increasingly tight budget cuts and austerity measures. This is making it difficult to maintain such subsidies and tax credits and many of the countries are opting to make cuts in energy and environmental policy rather than social welfare. Nonetheless, there is still hope for the wind energy industry because of the success that they have already had. Governments particularly like to put money into companies that will succeed and wind is a successful renewable resource.
The Future of Wind
Wind energy has been harvested in some form or another for hundreds of years. Humans realized how to make their life easier by utilizing the wind whenever possible. Still, technological improvements have allowed wind energy to catch up to the energy expenditure that we currently have. The world consumes high quantities of fossil fuels every day, but wind farming is slowly taking market share. With private investment increasing all the time and public funding still flowing, the wind energy industry is bound to continue growing and helping people worldwide.
Iain is an active proponent of all things alternative when it comes to energy and often blogs on all things green. Banner photo by Tom