Is The Wind A Natural Resources?

What is Wind?

Wind is moving air that occurs naturally in Earth’s atmosphere. It is caused by differences in air pressure arising from the unequal heating of the planet’s surface by the Sun. Wind flows from areas of higher air pressure to areas of lower pressure. This renewable wind energy can be captured and converted into mechanical power or electricity.

Wind is a clean, renewable source of kinetic energy that is generated by air currents in the earth’s atmosphere. This movement of air masses occurs because the sun heats the surface of the earth unevenly, creating warm and cool areas that cause air to rise, circulate, and replace other air that has moved to equalize the pressure. This cycle drives wind flow and makes wind a renewable resource.

Wind as a Natural Resource

Wind can be considered a natural resource because it exists naturally without any human intervention. The wind is generated by the heating and cooling of the atmosphere and the rotation of the earth, which causes global wind circulation patterns. Unlike resources such as oil or coal which must be extracted, wind exists naturally everywhere on the planet.

Wind has energy available to be harnessed by wind turbines and converted to useful work such as generating electricity. The kinetic energy of the wind turns the turbines, which drive generators and convert the mechanical energy into electrical energy. In this way wind can be an alternative to fossil fuels for power generation.

One of the key advantages of wind as a resource is that it is inexhaustible over human time scales. As long as the sun continues heating the atmosphere unevenly and the earth rotates, there will be wind. Unlike fossil fuels which are finite, wind power can be harvested indefinitely. The wind resource is so vast that even harvesting large amounts would not deplete the overall supply.

Uses of Wind

Some of the main uses of wind include:

Generate electricity using wind turbines – Wind turbines convert the kinetic energy of wind into mechanical power, which is then converted into electricity using a generator. Wind turbines can range in size from small residential models to large utility-scale turbines. As of 2021, wind provided over 8% of total U.S. electricity generation.

Power windmills and water pumps – Windmills harness the power of wind to turn mechanical machinery. Historically, windmills were used to grind grain, pump water for irrigation, and power sawmills. Today, they are still used to pump water and generate electricity on a small scale.

Propel sailing ships – Sailing ships use the wind power captured by their sails to propel the vessel across open waters. While not as widely used today, sailing ships were essential for maritime trade before the advent of steamships.

Advantages of Wind Power

Wind power offers several key advantages as an energy source. First, wind is a renewable and abundant resource that will never run out. Unlike fossil fuels which are finite, wind can generate electricity indefinitely without being depleted. This makes wind a reliable long-term energy solution.

Secondly, wind turbines produce no air pollution while operating. Unlike power plants that burn coal, gas or oil, wind turbines generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases or other pollutants. This makes wind power beneficial for public health and the environment.

Lastly, wind turbines have low operating costs once installed. The major costs associated with wind power are the upfront capital costs of constructing the wind farm. But once the turbines are erected, the cost of generating electricity is very low since no fuel is needed. This makes the operating costs of wind energy competitive with conventional power plants.

Disadvantages of Wind Power

While wind energy offers many benefits, there are some drawbacks to consider as well. One major disadvantage is the high upfront infrastructure costs required to build and install wind turbines. Constructing the towers, bases, blades, and other components can be very capital intensive compared to more traditional power plants.

Another drawback is that wind is an intermittent energy source, meaning it is not available on demand and varies based on weather patterns. The wind does not blow consistently throughout the day or year, so wind power can be less reliable than fossil fuel plants that can provide energy whenever it is needed.

There are also some concerns regarding the potential environmental impacts of wind turbines, particularly on birds and bats. The spinning blades can pose collision risks, especially for migratory bird populations. Proper site selection and updated turbine designs can help minimize these risks.

Global Wind Power Capacity

Worldwide installed wind power capacity reached over 650 gigawatts (GW) in 2019. Wind power continues to expand rapidly across the globe. The top countries leading in total installed wind capacity are China, the United States, and Germany.

China has the highest installed wind capacity of any country, reaching over 250 GW by the end of 2019. The United States comes in second globally, with over 105 GW of wind capacity installed as of 2019. Germany comes in third with over 60 GW of wind power capacity.

In addition to growth in onshore wind farms, offshore wind capacity is expanding quickly, especially in Europe. The UK and Germany lead globally in offshore wind development. Several large offshore wind projects are also under construction or planned in the United States, China, and other countries. Overall, global offshore wind capacity reached nearly 30 GW by the end of 2019 and is expected to grow rapidly in the coming decades.

Future of Wind Power

The future looks bright for wind power. Costs are expected to continue falling as technology improves, making wind increasingly competitive with fossil fuels. Larger turbines and offshore wind farms are enabling wind to generate ever-greater amounts of electricity.

Industry experts predict wind power will play a major role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating climate change. Ambitious carbon reduction goals set by many countries are expected to drive further growth in wind capacity. With wind resources readily available across most regions worldwide, wind has the potential to generate over a quarter of the world’s electricity by 2050.

Advances in turbine design are allowing for larger rotors and hub heights, increasing energy capture. New materials and digital capabilities are enhancing efficiency and reliability. Emerging innovations such as floating offshore wind platforms are opening up new frontiers.

While the future environmental and economic benefits look promising, wind power growth faces challenges too. These include policy and regulatory risks, impacts on wildlife, and integrating variable wind generation into grid systems. However, the industry is working to mitigate these issues through technological and operational improvements.

Policies Supporting Wind

wind turbines generate clean electricity

Governments around the world have implemented policies to encourage the growth of wind power generation. Some of the key policies supporting wind power development include:

Renewable Portfolio Standards

Renewable portfolio standards (RPS) are policies that require electric utilities to source a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources like wind and solar. Over 30 U.S. states have RPS policies with targets ranging from 10-100% renewable energy by a future year. RPS policies create guaranteed demand for renewable energy and provide certainty to wind project developers.

Production Tax Credits

The production tax credit (PTC) provides wind energy project owners with a tax credit per kilowatt-hour of electricity generated. The PTC has been critical for spurring investments in new wind projects in the U.S. However, the PTC has generally only been renewed on a short-term basis, creating boom-and-bust cycles in wind development. Longer-term PTC extensions would provide more stability for wind growth.

Streamlined Permitting

Streamlining the permitting process for wind projects reduces timelines, costs, and regulatory burdens. Some states have implemented centralized permitting processes or reduced permitting requirements to encourage faster wind project deployment. The federal government has also worked to simplify permitting for projects on public lands. Faster permitting allows wind developers to capitalize on available tax credits and favorable market conditions.

Public Opinion on Wind Power

Overall, public opinion towards wind power tends to be positive, with high levels of support reported in surveys across many countries. In the United States, national polls show that around 80-90% of Americans support expanding wind power generation. Similar levels of support have been found in countries like the UK, Australia and Canada.

This broad approval stems from the perception of wind energy as a clean and renewable source of electricity that can enhance energy security and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. People also view wind farms as an economic opportunity for rural communities through job creation and land lease payments to farmers and ranchers.

Despite general favorability, wind projects are not without opposition. Concerns often raised by local communities include visual impacts, noise, and effects on wildlife. For example, some find wind turbines to be visually unappealing and worry about impacts to viewsheds. There are also complaints about audible noise and infrasound from wind farms located near residential areas. Additionally, bird and bat mortality from collisions with turbine blades remains an issue that conservation groups monitor.

Overall though, public support for wind energy remains high. With appropriate siting, visual screening, and noise mitigation, many local concerns can be addressed through proper wind farm planning and community engagement.


In summary, wind is a renewable natural resource that plays an important role in the global clean energy transition. As a form of solar energy, wind is continuously replenished and will never run out. Wind power generation has grown substantially in recent decades as technology has improved and policies have promoted renewable energy.

Wind energy offers notable advantages as a clean, sustainable electricity source that produces no carbon emissions. While wind power expansion faces challenges such as suitable land constraints and intermittent generation, continued technological advances and supportive policies can help address these issues. With abundant global wind resources available, wind has the potential to supply a substantial share of the world’s electricity demand. Realizing this potential will require scaling up wind power capacity worldwide.

Overall, wind qualifies as a natural resource and an important component of plans to reduce fossil fuel dependence and mitigate climate change risks through clean energy transitions. With thoughtful planning and responsible development, wind can continue supplying increasing amounts of emissions-free renewable electricity globally.

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