What Is Keeping Wind Energy From Widespread Use?

Wind energy faces challenges in the form of its dependence on subsidies, its variable energy production based on wind speed, competition with cheaper fuel sources like natural gas, a limited electrical grid, heavy up-front investment requirements and the challenge of integrating the turbines into existing infrastructure, according to Business Insider. These hurdles have kept wind power's rate of growth slow.

The United States electrical grid is aging in many places and very difficult to maintain, much less update. Integrating wind turbines into the existing grid can pose a challenge and many public works departments are unwilling to take on such a task when they can instead stick to older, easier methods.

Wind turbines need wind to produce electricity. If wind dies down then no electricity is produced, an unacceptable variable in many places where critical equipment could depend on having a constant, reliable power supply. There is no easy solution to this problem as it relies on the weather.

Transporting electricity across long distances is a difficult and expensive proposition. Because wind turbines are often placed in isolated locations to take advantage of windy conditions, getting the energy they produce to sites where it can be used poses a substantial challenge for engineers, as noted by Business Insider.