Wind energy has become one of the most popular renewable energy sources available today but is the cost of wind turbines worth it? As the demand for green energy continues to grow, so does the number of wind turbines being installed in rural areas around the world. But are the impact and cost of wind turbines for rural area really best for those living nearby?
We drive by many of them about 40 minutes away and notice oftentimes they are not even moving. That got me wondering about the cost and efficiency of them.
Let’s take a look at what investing in wind energy means for our rural areas. There are advantages as well as disadvantages to the rural area lifestyle.
The Cost Of Wind Turbines
While there are many advantages associated with wind turbine installations, they do come with certain costs that must be taken into consideration before making any investments. How much do wind turbines cost?
The cost of installing a single turbine can range anywhere from tens of thousands up to millions of dollars depending on its size and complexity.
The initial cost of building a wind turbine is quite high and requires substantial investment from both private companies and local governments. (And who funds the government? We, the taxpayers.)
These costs include purchasing or leasing the land for the turbines, obtaining necessary permits, constructing the towers and blades, connecting power lines to nearby homes or businesses, and hiring specialized personnel to operate the turbines.
Furthermore, there are ongoing costs associated with maintaining wind turbines—such as regular inspections, repairs, and replacements—which must also be factored into the equation.
Additionally, due to the size and scale involved in constructing wind turbines, there is always a risk that unexpected delays or problems could occur which would increase overall costs even further.
Not only are there monetary costs but there are costs to the families that live next to the wind turbines.
The Human Impact Of Wind Turbines Includes:
- Loss of beautiful views
- Health issues
- Noise pollution
- Turbulence in the surrounding areas
- Loss of birds
- Disruption of local wildlife
- Farming complications
- Real estate prices may decrease
What Happens If They Freeze?
What happens in a rural area if the wind turbines freeze in extremely cold weather? That happened in the extreme winter of 2021 in Texas.
However, there are newer technologies to heat the turbines but of course, it takes some electricity.
It takes more than extra equipment to keep wind turbines spinning in extreme winter conditions. Preventive measures must be taken every year to prepare the turbines for winter before the cold season even begins.
According to some experts on turbines, “Cold contracts things, so the viscosity of the oil is different. We have to switch out fluids like coolant or grease for various components with weather-appropriate materials to make sure our systems are still well-lubricated and running smoothly.”
Additionally, they adjust the computer algorithms that control each turbine to operate more reliably during the winter months. Those adjustments factor in higher air density at lower temperatures, changes in air pressure, and other winter conditions that impact turbine performance.
So the cost of wind turbines may be higher in colder climates just as heat pumps do.
What Do They D0O With An Old Wind Turbine That Doesn’t Work?
While today, many retired wind turbine blades end up in landfills, innovative companies have developed repurposing and recycling technologies to help avoid that fate.
Veolia, partnering with GE, can shred down fiberglass blades and turn them into cement.
The Benefits of Wind Turbines
Despite these costs, there are several benefits that come with having wind turbines in your area. For starters, they provide an environmentally friendly way of producing electricity without relying on non-renewable sources like coal or natural gas.
Additionally, they can help reduce air pollution levels by reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere by power plants burning fossil fuels.
Finally, they generate revenue for local communities through taxes paid by the companies operating them. This money can then be used to fund public services such as schools or hospitals.
These services are invaluable in rural areas as they are far and few between.
Conclusion of Wind Energy
In conclusion, there are both pros and cons to the cost of wind turbines in rural areas. While they offer economic benefits such as job creation and income generation for locals, they also present potential environmental problems such as visual pollution and disruption of local wildlife populations.
Ultimately though, it is up to each individual community to decide whether or not the cost-benefit analysis weighs in favor of building these structures in their rural area.
Whatever decision is made should take into consideration both the short-term and long-term effects that these structures will have on the environment and its inhabitants.
Your Turn On The Cost Of Wind Turbines In Rural Areas
Do you believe the impact and cost of wind turbines are worth it in the rural communities that they are in? I’d love to hear from you if you live next to one.