Climate change is the most serious environmental threat facing the world today and clean renewable energy sources like wind power are a significant part of the solution. Wind power is plentiful in many parts of the world, and can be harnessed safely to generate electricity, without producing any dangerous waste or unwanted by-products.
Wind energy, as part of a diverse renewable energy portfolio across the UK, can also make a valuable contribution to our national energy security and meet rising demand in a sustainable way.
Wind energy systems are among the most technologically advanced and cost-effective renewable electricity generating sources currently available. Modern turbines are likely to be producing useful power for up to 85% of the year, and have a design lifespan at least 20 years. The power produced by onshore wind farms is one of the cheapest forms of renewable energy available today, with the real potential for continuing technological advances to bring the costs down still further.
Wind energy can help meet national and international targets on reducing carbon dioxide emissions and is a vital component of a strategy to meet renewable energy targets. It also increases the nation's security of supply and reduces reliance on finite fossil fuels and imports.
Creating jobs for the 21st century
Wind power is the world's fastest growing energy source, averaging 32% growth per year over the past ten years globally. The economic value of the global wind market is estimated to be worth about US$36 billion annually in new generating equipment. Over 70 countries around the world contribute now to the global total, and the number of people employed by the industry world-wide is estimated to be up to 200,000. According to the European Wind Energy Association, generating 12 per cent of the EU's energy from wind would create 368,000 new jobs over 13 years, at the same time increasing energy independence and generating wealth.
Misconceptions about wind energy
There are some common misconceptions about wind energy. Each of the five sections below analyses one of these 'wind myths' and demonstrates why it is not valid.
- Windpower is highly subsidised
- Wind power harms the environment
- As an energy source, wind power can't make any difference
- Wind power is unreliable
- Wind power is expensive