Considerations on environmental, economic, and energy impacts of wind energy generation: Projections towards sustainability initiatives

Goodluck Msigwa, Joshua O. Ighalo*, Pow Seng Yap

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The energy sector contributes significantly to the emission of greenhouse gases (GHGs) due to the use of fossil fuels which leads to climate change problems. Worldwide, there is a shift from fossil fuel-based energy to cleaner energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal, and biomass. Wind energy is one of the promising cleaner energy sources as it is feasible and cost-effective. However, the development of wind farms causes impacts on sustainability aspects. This article aims to review the impacts of wind energy generation on environmental, economic, and social aspects of sustainability and their mitigation strategies. The aim was achieved by reviewing recent research papers on different aspects of wind energy sustainability. The environmental impacts reviewed include the effects on avian life, noise pollution, visual impacts, microclimate and vegetation. Apart from environmental impacts, wind energy generation faces issues in energy and financial sustainability, such as the wind power fluctuation, technology lagging and use of fixed feed-in tariff contracts that do not consider wind energy advancement and end-of-life management. We discussed that turbine deterrents, automatic curtailment, low gloss blades and sustainable siting of wind farms as some of the effective ways to combat wind energy environmental impacts. In addition, we discussed that energy storage systems, setting up microgrids, combination of solar, wind and energy storage, and renewable energies policies are some of the ways to combat wind energy's economic and energy impacts. Lastly, the recommendations, and future perspectives on wind energy generation sustainability are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Article number157755
JournalScience of the Total Environment
Volume849
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2022

Keywords

  • Avian life
  • Mitigation strategies
  • Noise pollution
  • Sustainability
  • Visual impacts
  • Wind energy

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