Electricity from wind can be created through either industrial (very large) turbines or residential (small) turbines. There is major controversy concerning the development of industrial wind farms, which are usually groupings of 20 or more turbines, as can be seen on web sites such as National Wind Watch (www.wind-watch.org). However, industrial development of wind farms is the most common route for companies that want to develop wind energy, mainly because of the policies and incentives that have been put in place by state and federal governments (Moss 2005). Residential wind power is small-scale wind-capturing technology to supply energy to single homes and farms (Clark 2006). This type of wind energy also has incentives, but they are not as lucrative for large companies (DSIRE 2007). Wind energy is considered a “green” energy, meaning that it supposedly has very few to no emissions and its benefits for the environment outweigh its costs. In following this standard, the most viable way of implementing wind energy production is to prevent harm to the environment from installation of the turbine, installation of infrastructure required to transport the electricity produced, and creation of the turbine itself and its supporting structures. Further, the turbines should not cause harm to wildlife or humans and they should be efficient at reducing carbon dioxide emissions. Each of these factors must be present for wind energy to be a viable source of energy for the nation. Which method of implementation, industrial turbines, residential turbines, or a combination of both, would best serve this purpose? To answer this question, I will provide a brief history of wind power, look at policies concerning the development of both industrial and residential wind power, and review wind energy’s environmental and human impacts. Through this analysis, the conclusion that wind energy, as it is currently being developed in the United States, will not reduce carbon dioxide emissions, our dependence on foreign oil, or on dependence of dirtier sources such as coal and nuclear, will be clear. Only an off-grid system of residential turbines will help reduce our energy imports and carbon emissions. Holding up the commercial wind industry with tax breaks and subsidies will only hurt our environmental future. …
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