On February 17, 2017, Denmark met its need for electricity for one day relying totally on wind power. China continues to lead the world in wind energy production with plans to add 403 gigawatts over the next decade. They are followed by the United States, Germany, and India in the installation of new wind turbines. The world’s largest wind turbine can power over 8,000 homes without any help. Yet, scientists and others continue to ponder the impact of wind energy.
At the end of 2016, the wind energy was creating jobs in the United States 12 times faster than the rest of the economy. It is estimated that by 2020, over 259,000 Americans will be working in the wind industry. About 49 percent of them will be maintaining or operating wind turbines with another 14 percent building new wind tunnels. The remainder will be working in other capacities to support the thriving industry. In fact, wind tunnel technician is the fastest growing job in the United States.
According to the Audubon Society, wind turbines kill up to 234,000 birds in North America every year, but that is quickly changing even as the number of wind turbines continues to grow. Systems have been designed using cameras and GPS to shut down wind turbines whenever threatened species of birds fly near. In other areas, wind turbine blades are being painted in bright colors to detract insects from being drawn to them. When fewer insects live near the wind turbines, fewer birds go there to feed. Bright lights may be another solution while others are attempting to build circular wind turbines that are less likely to attract birds.
Help Eliminate Greenhouse Gases
One of the most exciting parts of using wind turbines for energy is that they cut down on the production of greenhouse gases. In fact, it is estimated that the European Union could potentially eliminate the production of 2.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gases by using wind turbines. While it takes some pollution to produce a wind turbine, it offsets that pollution in under six months. Then, it runs without producing any more carbon for up to 20 years.
The wind energy industry is quickly growing around the world. Its ability to produce jobs means that more people are gainfully employed in high-paying stable jobs. Furthermore, scientists are working to overcome the environmental impact of wind turbines while celebrating the reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.