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An engineer takes in the view from atop a turbine at a wind farm in Oregon. (AP)

An engineer takes in the view from atop a turbine at a wind farm in Oregon. (AP)

Some locations are ideal for wind turbines. These are a familiar sight to Californians traveling through the Altamont Pass near Livermore. (AP)

Some locations are ideal for wind turbines. These are a familiar sight to Californians traveling through the Altamont Pass near Livermore. (AP)

People who favor wind say it is a cleaner way to generate electricity than using coal-fired power plants. (AP)

People who favor wind say it is a cleaner way to generate electricity than using coal-fired power plants. (AP)

No one wants to see birds like this golden eagle in Maine get struck by a wind turbine blade. (AP)

No one wants to see birds like this golden eagle in Maine get struck by a wind turbine blade. (AP)

Wind power fans say turbines are safer than nuclear power plants like Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. (AP)

Wind power fans say turbines are safer than nuclear power plants like Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania. (AP)

Views on Wind Power

Posted: April 30, 2018

Officials from the American Wind Energy Association say their member companies operate more than 54,000 wind turbines in 41 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. Each of those turbines represents people who had to decide whether putting turbines on their land was a good idea. Is wind worth it? Use this pro and con list to help you decide.

Pros

Wind plays well with farms. If you’re a farmer, renting some of your land for wind turbines could bring you tens of thousands of extra dollars each year over time. That extra boost helps a lot if crop prices are low. It could even keep you in business!

Wind energy is clean. It doesn’t pollute the air like coal or oil.

Wind energy is just getting more popular. The amount of energy gathered from wind has grown up to five times the amount gathered 10 years ago. Right now, over three-and-half percent of the world’s electricity comes from wind. That number could just keep climbing.

Wind energy is renewable. We may run out of oil. But we will never run out of wind.

Cons

Wind doesn’t blow all the time. If you used wind for all your power, windless days might find you sitting in a dark, powerless house!

Wind turbines can harm birds. As many as 368,000 birds could be killed by turbines each year. (But we can keep that number in perspective. It’s estimated the number killed by cats could be as high as 3.7 billion!)

Wind turbines can be expensive. Some of the cost of wind turbines is already paid by the U.S. government to encourage people to use them. Your investment should pay off over time—if you live in a very windy spot. But even then you will probably have to wait a while before you make your money back.

Wind turbines could hurt the environment too. Wind energy is clean—but it’s not so clean if you have to chop down a bunch of trees to make space for your turbine and build new power lines to carry the electricity!