Alternative energy has been a popular topic in the news ever since oil prices have increased to astonishing levels. One alternative energy source is wind, but not just in the historical form that has been around for hundreds of years.
Wind mills have been a source of power generation for many years, but modern day wind turbines are now used to generate electricity. Such turbines have been onshore, or on solid land, and the wind has long been harnessed as a renewable energy source, albeit sometimes unreliable.
In recent years, more focus has been put on wind energy and how wind can be better cultivated into a reliable energy source. A logical idea has been to implement the ocean currents and use the wind that is prevalent and often-powerful over large bodies of water. Through offshore wind turbines, a much larger percentage of the available wind can be harnessed and used to generate electricity.
In using wind farms and turbines, several benefits arise. For starters, a new source of energy is available for what (in the future) can be possible widespread usage. Less dependence on oil and fossil fuels (non-renewable energy sources) will be needed. Oil and gas prices can be reduced, and harm to the environment, which oil drilling commits, can be lessened.
Pollution can also be lessened, as wind turbines (both onshore and offshore) produce very little pollution, unlike oil, which produces pollution run-off on land and into water and air pollution from the factors and rigs that are needed to drill the oil and turn it into gas and petroleum. "No pollution" has been a popular benefit in support of wind power for many years, especially in a society that considers pollution to be a major problem. With the increased notion of global warming and a diminished ozone layer, as caused by pollution, alternative fuel methods have been considered for their roles in reducing the amount of pollution that goes into water and atmosphere.
Because wind is renewable, its costs to "produce" are very low compared to the costs needed to produce gas from oil/fossil fuels. Increased attention and support has risen for wind power, with North America, Europe, and Asia among the leading continents in wind power cultivation. As this energy source becomes more popular and mainstream, more support will arise and faster cultivation methods will be developed worldwide.
Offshore wind turbines hold a number of other benefits over onshore wind farms. As stated before, the more wind that can be harnessed, the more energy that can be produced. With a greater number of energy, the usage of wind power will rise and gain prevalence. This can lead to decreased fuel costs, something that is greatly needed for consumers.
In addition, offshore wind turbines are extremely quiet, resulting in no noise pollution. Because they are located within the water, they cannot effect livestock or other farm animals. Because birds rarely fly over water, less injuries to birds will occur, which has been a common problem with onshore wind farms in recent years.
Although a push for wind energy has come about, the overall cost to initiate such wind farms is high. Offshore wind turbines especially fall victim to this disadvantage, as they cost 2.5-3.5 times more than onshore wind farms to build and generate electricity. Since more wind can be harvested and more electricity produced offshore, however, is this enough to eliminate the increased cost? Studies and tests are currently being done to find this out, but with alternative energy sources greatly desired and politicians already giving support to wind as an energy source, one thing is for sure: wind energy will only gain prominence in years to come.