Wind Energy Systems: the Pros and Cons

off grid power self sufficiency Nov 09, 2020
wind energy, off grid power

Renewable energy systems have many advantages and disadvantages.  There are substantial differences between solar, wind, and micro-hydro. Therefore, this is something worth investigating before you make a substantial financial investment.  Then you can decide on which system is right for your situation.  Consequently, educating yourself is imperative.  This particular post will cover the pros and cons of wind energy systems.  


Pros of Wind Energy Systems


1. Clean renewable energy source

Global warming emissions trap heat and are steadily driving up Earth’s atmospheric temperature. Electricity production in the United States accounts for about one-third of the country’s emissions. In contrast, renewable energy sources generate little to no global warming emissions.

Wind energy systems are clean. Harnessing this type of energy does not produce any harmful by products.

2. Inexhaustible energy supply

If designed and used correctly, renewable energy systems can provide unlimited power. For example, the US has tremendous resources. With present technology, it is technically feasible to generate 118 times the amount of electricity that the nation currently uses. Wind energy systems are becoming an important part of this energy production. 

3. Self Reliance

There is something you will hear me say over and over again. As long as someone else is in control of your resources, they are in control of your life. Producing your own energy is a great step toward self reliance.

4. Living sustainably

Renewable energy is the way of the future. Fossil fuels are not renewable, at least not in the lifespan of our present civilization. There are many ways to live sustainably. Generating your own energy is a great place to start. Under the right circumstances, wind energy systems can be a great choice.  

5. Saving Money

If you are generating your own electricity, you are not subject to the market price that your utility provider demands. Once your renewable energy system is paid for, your cost for electricity is essentially zero. Imagine not having pay several hundred dollars a month for basic utilities.

6. Back up power system

In most developed countries, the power grid is typically reliable in urban areas. This is not the case in rural areas. Nor is it the case  in many other places on the planet. Renewable energy systems are a much more reliable and stable source of electricity. I have lived in several areas that routinely experience severe weather conditions. On several occasions I was the only one with electricity. I never noticed the grid was down.

7. Improved public health

Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels has been clearly linked to heart attacks, cancer, neurologic disorders and respiratory disease.

Wind energy is free and 100% renewable.

8. Return on Investment

Renewable energy systems pay for themselves in more than one way. The first obvious savings is not having to pay for electricity. The second area that is commonly over looked is the added property value from implementing such a system. People these days are more than willing to pay substantially more for a property that has even a basic renewable energy system.

9. Net metering

This is another area where you can make money. Most states have net metering agreements where the utility company is required to buy your excess electricity, even though they may not exactly pay you a premium for it.


Cons of Wind Energy Systems


1. Up front costs are high

This may be the number one reason people do not purchase a renewable energy system. The up front cost is high enough that most people cannot pay for their system out right. Consequently, financing is the next best option. You have to look at the long term benefits.

When I purchased my solar electric system, the company offered large discounts if I paid cash. Total cost: $9,500. Ouch! However, I paid the up front cost and worked a lot of extra hours for a number of months to make the money back. By comparison, my closest neighbor’s average utility bill is $450/month. That means he pays $5,400/year in utility bills. If this were my cost savings, my solar electric system would pay for itself in 21 months. After that, the cost of my utilities would be zero.

2. Need enough land to accommodate the turbine

To make a wind energy system feasible, you need at least one acre. This will accommodate the foot print of the turbine tower as well as any set back restrictions with property boundaries.

3. Not all locations are suitable 

A careful site assessment is imperative. Not all locations are suitable for wind energy systems. If you want to maximize you energy production and capitalize on your investment, make sure your site is suitable.

4. Restrictions due to building codes

Everybody wants to tell you what to do. You will have to contend with City, County, and State regulations. Some of those regulations may limit tower height to something that is not very productive. Make sure you are aware of local limitations before you pull out your wallet.

5. Noise

Wind turbines are going to make some noise. The most important factor in noise production is turbine rotations per minute (rpm). Smaller turbines usually operate at a higher rpm and thus will produce more noise. Consequently, when considering the noise produced by different turbines of the same size, you must compare the rpm’s.

6. Appearance

Some people simply find wind energy systems to be unattractive.

7. Lightning strike

Wind turbines are particularly susceptible to lightning strike. They are tall isolated towers connected to sensitive electronics. Lighting strike is a very real threat.

However, a properly installed lightning protection system, which frequently costs less than 1% of the total capital investment, can properly conduct this current to the ground and prevent damage.




There are many things to consider when investing in a renewable energy system.  The above information should give you a basic understanding of the pros and cons of wind energy systems.  Consequently, this will help you to decide if it is the correct choice for your personal situation.

Now that you know about the basic pros and cons of wind energy, if you would like to read more, then read this post Is Wind Energy Right for You?

Another good post: Introduction to Renewable Energy Systems


Go off grid and live well,


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