Comparing Wind Power to Other Alternative Energy Sources
Wind power is one of the fastest-growing alternatives to coal and gas. It offers a clean, abundant energy source that can help us reach our goal of net zero emissions.
Renewables are rapidly replacing “dirty” fossil fuels, yet questions remain about their economic viability. Here are a few things to take into account when comparing solar and wind energy:
Wind and solar technologies have advanced considerably in recent years, becoming competitive with coal and nuclear. Their levelised cost of energy (LCOE) is often lower than dispatchable rate costs for coal or gas – particularly when carbon emissions charges are taken into account.
Renewables are widely considered the best solution to combat climate change. In 2015, more than 140 countries submitted Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Wind and solar still face a key challenge: providing reliable electricity to meet actual demand. To do this, backup capacity and grid connection difficulties need to be solved. That is where battery storage becomes an economically viable solution, helping reduce system costs.
Renewable energy sources like wind, solar power, geothermal power, biomass, hydropower and ocean energy have a significantly lower environmental impact than non-renewables such as coal, oil, natural gas or nuclear. This has encouraged many countries to transition away from dirty energy in order to reduce their emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
However, the intensity and magnitude of environmental effects can vary considerably based on the technology used, the extent of land conversion, as well as other variables. According to Chris Moorman – professor and coordinator of NC State’s Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology program – “sitting a renewable energy project may also have significant environmental implications”.
Renewable energies offer economies a way to diversify and safeguard themselves against volatile fossil fuel prices. Furthermore, they have the potential for driving inclusive economic growth, job creation and poverty alleviation.
Solar and wind power have long been considered less reliable than fossil fuels, but advances in battery technology and other related technologies are making them more dependable.
Biomass energy sources are reliable and renewable, since they can be burned or processed into renewable fuels. Furthermore, biomass serves as a backup source of energy when other sources are unavailable, providing steady supplies of electricity in times of emergency.
Nuclear power plants are far more reliable than wind or solar plants, as they can run for extended periods without need for refueling, and typically operate at full capacity around 90% of the time. Unfortunately, nuclear plants tend to be expensive due to their fuel costs as well.
Humans have long used the power of the sun, wind and other natural resources to generate energy. While these renewable sources are cleaner, safer and more environmentally friendly than fossil fuels, they do come with some risks.
As with any new technology, employees in the solar and wind industries must take precautions to safeguard themselves. This includes wearing safety equipment and receiving training to identify hazards and minimize injury risks.
Renewable energy workers face a number of occupational risks, such as falls, confined space hazards, electrical currents and fires. However, due to the unique nature of these projects, several solutions have been devised in order to mitigate these hazards.
One of the most significant is a new industry standard introduced in America recently by the American Society of Safety Professionals and American National Standards Institute. This standard establishes minimum requirements for construction and demolition of utility-scale land-based wind turbines.