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why do we need to build wind farms

Wind speeds in remote areas are sometimes very high, but transmission costs to access these locations can be prohibitive. We present a conceptual model to estimate the economics of accessing high quality wind resources in remote areas to comply with renewable energy policy targets, and apply the model to the Midwestern grid (MISO) as a case study. We assess the goal of providing 40
TWh of new wind generation while minimizing costs, and include temporal aspects of wind power (variability costs and correlation to market prices) as well as total wind power produced from different farms. We find that building wind farms in North/South Dakota (windiest states) compared to Illinois (less windy, but close to load) would only be economical if the incremental transmission costs to access them were below $360/kW of wind capacity (break-even value). Historically, the incremental transmission costs for wind development in North/South Dakota compared to in Illinois are about twice this value. However, the break-even incremental transmission cost for wind farms in Minnesota/Iowa (also windy states) is $250/kW, which is consistent with historical costs. We conclude that wind development in Minnesota/Iowa is likely more economical to meet MISO renewable targets compared to North/South Dakota or Illinois. Having recognised them as a source of renewable energy being employed globally, Britain is now seeing a boom in wind farms as a means of reducing greenhouse gases. By harnessing the power of wind, it is argued that turbines produce clean energy whilst simulataneously helping to put a stop to pollution.

But with their strong reliance on unpredictable weather patterns and heavy subsisdy costs, is the sudden overhaul of wind power a good thing? Recently in PoliticsLab we wanted to know whether or not you think wind farms are a positive step for Great Britain, and what additional/alternative methods could be used to help reduce the country's carbon footprint. The EU Energy Directive in 2009 saw the UK Government agree to an overall target of generating 15% of its energy supply from renewable sources by 2020. It is estimated that over 12,000 wind farms would be needed to make this goal achievable, and the British Wind Energy Association estimates that this will require an ambitious 35-40% of the UK s electricity to be generated from renewable sources by that date. What do you think of wind farms? What alternative energy source can you suggest, and why? Some Labs participants argue that wind farms are majestic figures, representing 'green' power and positive change for Britain, that also serves as a way to avoid relying on risky foreign trade for power. Others, however, consider it too costly, say turbines are a blight on the landscape, and are far too ineffective to be worthwhile. Many believe that mixed methods must be employed, with or without wind farms, for a truly effective alternative to coal or gas. A good deal of participants also point out that the effectiveness and likeability of wind farms rely greatly on their location, with many favouring brown belt landscapes or off-shore farms rather than areas of natural beauty.

Do you support or oppose wind farms as a source of renewable energy? What other energy sources would you suggest? Join the debate using Disqus below! Here's what our PoliticsLabs participants had to say. 1. I support the use of wind farms 2. I DON'T support the use of wind farms 3. I don't support or oppose wind farms " They are an excellent source of energy but wind farms could damage the serenity and beauty of the country. Hopefully, as time passes they will become more attractive to the eye" Anon "Firstly they must become cheaper or nearly as cheap as coal. Secondly, better ways of storing energy must be found as they do not produce a steady supply of electricity. There is no point in Britain building any except to model them to the rest of the world" Henry Shepherd, Cardiff "I think they have their place as part of a mixed solution to energy. I'm opposed to wind farms being constructed in areas of natural be auty, green belt land and national parks. If they are constructed on brown belt, industrial estates or offshore I'm more agreeable to them " John, Wakefield "I have no objection to them but would like to see evidence of their efficiency at producing energy compared to alternative methods " Anon "I agree they are a source of renewable energy but they are not very effective. The amount of electricity they contribute is very limited. They are not the answer to our problems" Joan, Chester Le Street " They should be utilized wherever possible but in a sensitive way and with the full agreement of the local population, not just the whim of a developer who will not be effected by their construction.

The technology also needs to be improved so that energy can be stored and utilized more effectively, allowing the greater use of offshore wind farms" Martin W, Newcastle " I like the idea in principle, although it depends on their location. I have no problem with off shore wind farms. These seem logical. I think more care needs to be taken when placing them on land " Iain, Bolton " They clearly have a place, but the construction of these devices in such large numbers is now about big money and nothing to do with the environment. There is no such thing as free energy" Colin N, Glos "On-shore no, but off-shore wind farms placed on or over the horizon aid wildlife by providing an area similar to a man-made reef. Winds are stronger at sea and there is plenty of room for wind farms and shipping lanes. Wind farms at sea are win-win for all involved (and even those who are not)" David, Berkshire "Wind farms need to be sited in the windiest places to be most effective - i. e. the most energy harvested by the fewest turbines. Unfortunately, the windiest places are often also in the path of migratory birds " Mike T, Shropshire Alternative forms of renewable energy suggested by Labs participants: Do you support or oppose wind farms as a source of renewable energy? What other energy sources would you suggest? Join the debate using Disqus below!

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