According to the Automobile Association of America, Virginia’s average gas prices have fallen from their highest recorded price on September 5, 2005 of $3.14. Despite this seeming improvement, no one knows how long the world can rely on non-renewable resources like petroleum oil. Recently, questions have arisen about whether use of renewable resources like wind, solar and hydro power should be substantially increased. As we proceed through the twenty-first century, wind power will emerge as the leader because it’s clean, affordable, renewable and safer than any other source.
When was the last time you saw a wind turbine spewing out smog or producing nuclear waste? Never, of course, because the cleanliness of wind energy is a major benefit which should lead to its increased use. If the use of wind turbines was adopted around the globe, pollution levels would decline. As a result, the depletion of the ozone layer would slow, in turn decreasing global warming. The idea that wind turbines are visually disturbing and loud is absurd; turbines are often built in rural areas unseen by most. Do you remember the last time you saw or heard an operating wind turbine? What is more visually disturbing: a wind turbine spinning in the breeze or a smokestack puffing out toxic chemicals? The truth is wind turbines create a more scenic view, allowing us a natural way of obtaining energy.
The cost of wind energy is another major reason to increase its use. Currently, wind power is comparable in cost to natural gas and nuclear energy but many studies show that in 30 years it will be significantly cheaper than other sources. As the demand for wind energy increases, the cost of turbine production and installation will decline as they are produced and installed more efficiently. The future growth of wind power will increase exponentially as consumers realize the potential for inexpensive energy.
Wind as a form of energy will always exist since it is renewable and has been shown to be the easiest to obtain. Nobody knows when non-renewable resources will become scarce. How long until the world realizes we must rely mostly on renewable sources of energy rather than non-renewable?
Safety is also important. Why should the United States increase the number of nuclear power reactors that could be targets for terrorists? Unlike nuclear power, wind turbines have never, and never will be, threatened by terrorists. Also, they do not pose safety threats to citizens, as nuclear power plants are. They do not pose the possibility of accidents that could kill thousands, do not take ten years to plan, and do not cost three to five billion dollars to manufacture like nuclear power plants, according to the Nuclear Energy Information Service. The bottom line is that wind power represents a safer means than any other source, while maintaining the same efficiency.
According to the Uranium Information Centre’s “Nuclear Issues Briefing Paper 38,” wind energy is projected to supply three percent of the world’s energy and ten percent of Europe’s energy by 2030. I predict that within a decade the American public will realize its affordability, renewability and safety benefits which will result in its emergence as a significant source of power, relieving the stress on non-renewable resources. Only time will tell whether we wake up and realize the substantial benefits of wind energy to the entire world.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.