For years global warming has been a problem facing the world. Our dependence on fossil fuels such as oil and coal has been one of the main causes of global warming, and most advanced nations are now struggling to wean themselves off of coal and especially oil. Aside from the obvious fact that both are polluting the environment and having negative consequences throughout the world, Western countries that rely on unstable producers for their oil are scared of the periodic swings in price and supply of what is certainly the lifeblood of a modern economy.
As such, nations throughout the world are struggling to move beyond conventional fossil fuels and into more sustainable, renewable and carbon neutral technologies for generating energy. The European Union has emerged as a leader in this rapidly growing industry due to the fact that it provides generous subsidies to green energy producers and is slowly phasing in penalties for heavy polluters. This has resulted in a blossoming of new projects involving solar, wind, bio-fuel and nuclear (although its eco-friendly credentials are questioned) power generation.
But it is in the field of electricity generation using wind power that Europe really outshines the rest of the world. Countries like Denmark (21% of electricity production), Portugal (18% of electricity production) and Spain (16% of electricity production) are leading the pack within Europe itself. Not only are they reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, they are also making their own economies more sustainable in the long run. As the innovators in an industry set to take off, these nations will profit when renewable energy becomes part of mainstream development.
Although wind power currently accounts for only 2.5% of total world electricity consumption, there are studies that show that the Earth is theoretically capable of generating over five times the amount of energy we currently use just through wind power alone. The future implications for countries that are already using wind power and are leading the pack in its research and development are huge. The same goes for new green energy companies that are looking to break into the industry.
However there are also disadvantages to relying on wind farms for electricity generation. The most obvious disadvantage is the fact that the wind doesn’t blow 24/7, and when it isn’t blowing, the turbines generate no electricity. This ultimately means that wind power will never fully replace oil and coal, although it will definitely play a part in any future energy generating mix. The second negative aspect of wind power is the high cost of setting it up in the first place, although this is true for almost all electricity generation projects.