Wind turbines are generally considered a clean energy source. Nevertheless, the construction of wind turbines, especially near residential areas, divides society.
A wind turbine or simply wind wheel converts the kinetic energy of the wind into electrical energy and feeds it into a power grid. Today, wind turbines are by far the most important form of wind energy utilization.
In most areas, the potential of energy generation from wind turbines is not exploited. Should we therefore build more wind turbines, or not?
The goal of this task is to show how different opinions evolve and strengthen.
1. Would you accept a wind power plant near your house? What are the advantages/disadvantages of installing wind power plants?
2. Put yourself in the role of a politician/expert. How would you argue…
a) … if you would like to promote the installation of a wind power plant close to your village?
b) … if you oppose installing wind power plants in your village?
3. Do your own research.
a) Find list of (seemingly) scientific based arguments favoring respectively opposing the use of wind power plants.
b) Elaborate on the connection between the main question and scientific facts.
c) What other aspects influence the decision on setting up wind power plants?
Advantages of wind power plants
1. Wind energy is a sustainable and clean energy source: After construction, no resources are consumed for operation, no emissions are produces and modern wind turbines can be almost completely recycled at the end of their service life.
2. Wind turbines have economic advantages: The construction of wind turbines creates jobs and the operation of wind turbines provides communities with a sustainable income.
3. Wind turbines are becoming more and more efficient: thus they are considered one of the most important energy suppliers in the post-fossil ressources era.
1. Reliability: Wind is not constantly available and cannot be stored
2. The construction of wind power plants is cost-intensive: compared to fossil fuel power plants, such as coal-fired power plants, they are much more expensive to produce, but compared to other sustainable energy power plants, they are less expensive to build.
3. Wind power plants have impact on human and nature: Wind turbines are not silent, and rotors of wind turbines can pose a danger to animals (as birds, bats and insects).
4. Wind power plants have impact on the landscape: The landscape is also changed and shaped by wind turbines drastically, which impacts residents and tourists.
Of course, the arguments must be weighed against each other and the significance must also be put into context.
For example, although the damage to flora and fauna is immediately apparent, the long-term damage caused by coal-fired power plants, for example, must also be put into perspective here.
There are many ways to integrate this into the classroom. In the simplest case, only the structure of the electric motor is discussed (topic induction), but there is also the possibility of analyzing the efficiency of the wind power plant, especially in relation to the geometry and number of rotor blades.
Controversy in this example. Wind power plants are generally considered to be a clean energy source. However the installation of wind power plants also has impact on economical and biological factors.
• SSI have a basis in science and require people to engage in dialogue, discussion, and debate.
• They are mainly controversial in nature.
• They require forming opinions and making decisions including scientific, moral, ethical or social reasoning issues.
Dealing with SSI
• Dealing with these issues requires evaluating incomplete information because of conflicting or incomplete scientific evidence and incomplete reporting.
• Often these issues involve a cost-benefit analysis in which risk interacts with ethical reasoning.
The goal is to understand how different opinions evolve and strengthen.