Comparison between Coal and Wind Methods of Electricity Production
Comparison between Coal and Wind Methods of Electricity Production
The traditional way of power generation requires the use of fossils fuels as the primary source of power. Still, today there are alternative power generation resources that utilize sustainable resources like wind, solar, and geothermal, among others. With the world population expected to increase in the future, the demand for more powerful energy is also increasing. For example, Kadar (2014) shows that the world has experienced an increased demand for power generation in the past decade, reaching an all-time high. This increased demand for electricity has meant that fossil fuels and other related resources are depleted rapidly, combined with increasing fuel prices, thus leading to rising costs of power generation. As a result of this development, traditional electricity production methods appear to be more costly than the new alternative electricity production methods. Moreover, these alternative methods are considered to be more environmentally friendly and cost-efficient compared to traditional methods. This discussion seeks to compare the traditional electric production method of coal energy to the alternative wind energy technique to establish the most suitable power generation methods in the future.
Coal Production of Electricity
According to the Department of Energy, coal as an energy production method accounts for approximately 40% of the total energy production within the United States. However, the affordability and availability of this energy production raw material come with some challenges, especially regarding its effect on the atmosphere and the environment in general (Energy.gov, 2020). However, compared to other electric production methods, coal has several advantages. First, it can be found in abundance as coal deposits can be found in most parts of the world, with an estimated 1 trillion tons of global reserve (Energy.gov, 2020). If these estimates happen to be correct, coal deposits are likely to last two to three times more than other fossils fuel reserves like oil and gas when the current consumption rate is maintained. The fact that coal is readily available means that it leads to very low and stable market prices. Another benefit is the fact that coal can be easily converted to energy. This factor makes essay it easy to build coal power generating plants using very little capital compared to other power generating plants powered by competing fuel sources (Morgan, 2007). These benefits have made coal an electric production method of choice, especially in developing countries.
Despite having several benefits coal as an electricity production method, it also has its drawbacks. For instance, the coal production process is known to emit a lot of carbon dioxide, thus polluting the atmosphere. Today, scientists raise a warning that a lot of greenhouse gases are being emitted into the atmosphere, a factor that has significant effects on climate change (Morgan, 2007). Moreover, the coal extraction process is quite dangerous, especially in developing countries where it can lead to the acidification of streams and other harmful effects on the environment.
The numerous challenges associated with coal are posing doubt about its future as an energy production method. For instance, today, there are growing calls across Europe and the United States to close coal-powered electricity production plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (Ramos, 2017). However, some analyst suggests that these calls can only be realized if other alternative methods can generate power at lower costs.
Windpower Power Production of Electricity
An alternative source of coal as an electricity production method is wind power. To generate wind power, the winds kinetic energy is used for the creation of mechanical power. This mechanical power is then converted to electricity by a generator, which means that wind as an electricity generating power is environmentally friendly and renewable (Energy.gov, 2020). With concerns being raised about the continued use of fossil fuels as electric production methods, the future of wind energy looks quite promising.
There are numerous advantages associated with wind power, one of them being the fact that it is cost-effective and a clean source of fuel. Unlike coal and other fossil fuels, wind energy does not pollute the environment. Wind energy heavily relies on the wind, a free and readily available resource, thus making it a cheaper alternative to other electricity production methods like coal (Best, 2015). This makes it a sustainable source of energy, especially given that as long as the wind blows, it remains a reliable source of energy.
Another benefit is that wind energy is economically friendly, given the fact that wind turbines can still be built on already existing ranches and farms. Such set-ups work to benefit the rural economy, given that most wind sites are found in these areas. This implies that farm owners can continue to use their land since the turbines occupy a small section of the land (Best, 2015). Moreover, wind power plant owners have to pay rent to farm owners for using their land, which means that such landowners have an additional income source.
The drawbacks of wind energy as an electricity production method is that it does not produce any power unless the wind is blowing. This can be quite inconvenient, especially in situations where most of the electricity system is powered by wind (Energy.gov, 2020). However, this challenge can be overcome by establishing a backup power supply to cover for such situations.
Comparing the two methods of electricity production, wind energy has the upper hand over coal energy. This is the case because there is increased demand for electricity, which means that fossil fuels and other related resources are depleted rapidly, combined with increasing fuel prices, thus leading to rising costs of power generation. On the other hand, wind energy is renewable, and it heavily relies on the wind, which is a free and readily available resource, thus making it a cheaper alternative to other electricity production methods like coal. Moreover, unlike coal and other fossil fuels, wind energy does not pollute the environment. Today there is a campaign to do away with fossil fuels as a source of energy to decrease pollution of the atmosphere, which means that the future of coal as an electricity production method is very bleak. At the same time, the adoption of alternative energy sources such as wind power, is encouraged because it is environmentally friendly and sustainable, which means that it has a very bright future.
Best, B. J. (2015). The pros and cons of wind power. Cavendish Square Publishing, LLC.
Department of Energy (2020). Coal. Retrieved from: https://www.energy.gov/coal
Energy.gov (2020). Advantages and Challenges of Wind Energy.Retrieved from:https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/advantages-and-challenges-wind-energy
Kadar. (2014). Pros and cons of renewable energy applications. Acta Polytechnica Hungarica, 11(4). DOI:10.12700/aph.25.04.2014.04.14
Morgan, S. (2007). The pros and cons of coal, gas, and oil. The Rosen Publishing Group.
Ramos, J. (2017). Coal pros and cons. Science Trends. DOI:10.31988/scitrends.7057
Ramos, J. (2017). Wind energy pros and cons. Science Trends. DOI:10.31988/scitrends.7049