Windmills have existed through history to saw, grind and even pump water. Present times have them producing electricity. This form of energy has its drawbacks, but is also very clean and renewable compared to fossil fuels such as coal and oil.
Wind energy has been growing at a faster rate than any other renewable energy. The Department of Energy projects that by 2030 it could provide electricity to 20% of the United States, thus saving nearly 30 trillion bottles of water over traditional fossil fuels. In 2011 it supplied South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming, Iowa and Minnesota with 10% of their electricity use. Areas in the western United States have the most wind farms producing the most energy. Many of those places also have the most land in which to install them.
One of the major drawbacks is the cost to set up wind turbines. The cost has been decreasing over the years thanks to better technology and increasing demand, but is still on the high side for most budgets. It can take years to recoup the initial cost. However, electricity prices for energy generated from wind turbines are much lower after the initial cost is returned.
There are tax incentives to owning a wind turbine. As of 2010 40 states in the United States have what is known as net metering. Homeowners can receive credits on their electricity bills for excess electricity produced. This can lead to huge savings on your electric bills. Having your own wind turbine can also protect you from blackouts and the fluctuating prices of your utility company.
Wind turbines are considered noisy so they may not be the best source for more urban environments. They work best when there is a wind at most times. Before installing you will need to check the average wind speeds in your area. They do not require much land for one wind turbine, but it is more than the average urban backyard provides.
Many have said that wind farms are a danger to birds and bats. This can be true, but many companies are working with bird authorities to design elements considered safer to migratory birds. Oilfield pits and disposal facilities kill many more birds annually than wind power.
If installing a wind turbine is not an option in your area, you should contact your local electric utility. Many utilities currently offer choices for greener energy, which may include wind power. In most cases these utilities will not offer totally green energy but a combination. The cost can be a little more than that from fossil fuels but is worth it for the environment.
Generating electricity from wind may not be for everyone because of the cost and land space needed to build a wind turbine. More wind farms are to be built offshore, which in turn can power many more homes without taking up land space and creating the noise or eyesore known to come with them. Wind power has a great future as a green