Go Green Wind Energy: An Important Ally in our Fight Against Climate Change

By Tom Last

In February, I wrote an article about the use of renewable energy in the form of solar energy, which was used to power the entire Super Bowl stadium in Las Vegas. This article explores “wind energy,” another important source of renewable energy in our fight against climate change.

Wind energy is electrical energy obtained from harnessing wind from windmills or wind turbines. It is a clean (no fossil fuels required except during the manufacturing, transport, and installation of the wind turbines) renewable energy source and is one of the most cost-effective sources of electricity. It does not contaminate, it is inexhaustible and reduces the use of fossil fuels, which are the origin of greenhouse gases that cause global warming. As technology improves wind turbines are becoming a more efficient and cost-effective energy solution.

Last December the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind project started to generate renewable energy about 35 miles off Montauk. The wind turbines are impressive structures standing about 260 feet tall with their blades each at 130 feet long. These 12 newly installed wind turbines are generating power for 70,000 homes, the equivalent of taking 60,000 carbon-producing cars off the roads. Another windfarm off Long Island, Sunrise Wind, is expected to begin operations in 2025 that will generate enough electricity to power 60,000 homes. The plan for New York is to be at zero fossil fuel emissions by 2040. This in addition to other major windfarms under construction in Connecticut, New Jersey (2), Maryland, and Rhode Island will bring renewable energy to millions of homes and businesses along the east coast. This is very encouraging news for those of us concerned about the environment.

The windfarms do not come without controversy as residents of Long Beach, NY have been opposing a planned wind turbine project that would be installed at least 14 to 30 miles off their coast. The residents have several concerns including that the massive turbines would be unsightly, and this would affect tourism. I personally feel the wind turbines are more aesthetically pleasing than the oil tankers that sit off our Rockaway shore. Other Long Beach residents’ concerns are about the environmental impact on whales, birds, and the effects of the transmission cables that would carry the electricity to the shore.

Wind energy is an important clean renewable energy source that is time-tested technology with a 30-year track record. There are over 5,000 turbines spinning around the world. Here on the east coast, we have a readily available resource that is finally being tapped and consumers and businesses will reap the benefits of reduced energy costs and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels. Admitting that wind energy has disadvantages such as expensive startup costs, intermittency (requires winds of 9+ miles to generate energy), may be dangerous to some wildlife, noisy and visually unattractive is understandable.

Wind energy is only one piece of our renewable energy solution. Used together with other renewable energy sources such as – solar, geothermal, hydropower, bioenergy, and ocean energy, will help in our fight against a warming planet and climate change along with providing cost savings for all energy consumers. As mentioned, wind farm technology does have some drawbacks, however it would be negligent for us to not promote this renewable energy type, as the fossil fuel industry has been destroying our planet for more than a century (no more drilling needed). Let’s promote and look forward to the continued development of wind farms and other renewable energy sources off our shores and throughout our country.

Remember, there is no Planet B.

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