Renewables: The Future of Wind Power

March 19, 2015 Updated: June 6, 2016

It only takes a drive across Texas on I20 or I10 to get a good look at wind power at work today. Sometimes the landscape is so cluttered with windmills that it gives cause to wonder, “Am I really driving through the state of Texas? The land of oil?” In fact, with depleting oil reserves and so much geopolitical unrest, there is an increasing focus on renewables in the manufacturing arena.

Not only are nations around the globe looking to reduce their carbon emissions, but they are looking for cheaper, sustainable energy. This is doubly the case for manufacturing concerns as the government will be focusing on target dates set for reduction.

Need for Solid Tax Incentives

Unfortunately, one of the biggest concerns in the industry is that government has been going back and forth on income tax incentives for the generation of electricity through wind power. This has caused a few brief lulls in some portions of the market. Companies want to know that they are getting somewhat compensated for the expense of constructing windmills, and rightly so.

By Land or By Sea—Comparative Costs

The windmill industry is not limited to manufacturing windmills in the traditional understanding of those which are assembled on land. Rather, there is a growing market for those placed offshore as winds are greater there and the potential for sustainable energy is huge. If the cost of offshore windmills is somewhat higher, there is a very logical reason for that.

Although the construction of land and sea towers is quite similar, a bit more engineering does go into those placed offshore as there are additional loads to be compensated for. On land, the welding contends with the turning of the turbines on the tower but in the sea, there are other concerns as well. Not only does the engineer need to account for the turning of the turbine but also for those strong ocean waves hitting up against the structure at the same time.

What Does the Future Hold for Wind Generated Electricity?

Renewables really are the way forward and after so much emphasis on solar power, wind power is finally coming into its own. Many energy analysts feel that wind power fell a bit behind because of the cost of manufacturing and installation involved. Solar panels can be assembled quite quickly on site whereas windmills need to be welded and constructed mostly where they are going to be located. Consequently, engineers are likely to be needed during installation, unlike during the installation of solar power systems.

Now that more and more manufacturing concerns are realizing the potential in wind power, there is an upsurge in the market. Availability also impacted higher costs, but that is set to change. With better government incentives and greater availability, the future of wind power is here and now. State of the art welding products, such as those offered by Lincoln Electric, and qualified engineers are providing a better landscape for constructing highly efficient windmills that are even in use in oil country. If you doubt that the future of wind power is here, take a drive down I20 and see for yourself.