10 Incredible Wind Power Facts


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U.S. Wind Resources Could Power the Nation 10 Times Over
Could wind farms like these fuel the future? Some studies say they could -- and then some!
Could wind farms like these fuel the future? Some studies say they could -- and then some!
Comstock/Thinkstock

Although the industrial application of wind power for producing electricity has been in development for decades, it is still a relatively young technology with much to prove in terms of viability. The motivation to move forward isn't based on what wind offers today, but rather the staggering potential it holds. Yes, it is currently an expensive endeavor requiring loads of cash and the enthusiasm of a Labrador. But when you consider the simple abundance and regularity of the wind, nothing else really comes close to matching what may be possible.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory states that the potential of land-based resources (wind farms installed on land as opposed to the open ocean) alone could provide America with its electricity needs 10 times over [source: AWEA].

A 2009 Harvard study found that a network of turbines operating at even a modest 20 percent of capacity could supply more than 40 times the worldwide demand for electricity. If this study, and others like it, are even in the ballpark, then continuing the exploration of wind as an alternative to fossil fuels is a no-brainer.

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Sources

  • American Wind Energy Association. "Wind Power is Good for America." (April 23, 2011)http://www.awea.org/_cs_upload/learnabout/publications/4124_1.pdf
  • Committee on Environmental Impacts of Wind Energy Projects, National Research Council. "Environmental Impacts of Wind-Energy Projects." National Research Council of the National Academies. 2007
  • Energy Kids. "Wind Basics." (April 22, 2011)http://www.eia.doe.gov/kids/energy.cfm?page=wind_home-basics
  • Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. "Wind Energy: Facts." (April 23, 2011)http://www.mass.gov/?pageID=eoeeaterminal&L=4&L0=Home&L1=Energy%2C+Utilities+%26+Clean+Technologies&L2=Renewable+Energy&L3=Wind&sid=Eoeea&b=terminalcontent&f=doer_renewables_wind_wind-energy-facts&csid=Eoeea#c
  • Hochberg, Adam. “Wind Farms Draw Mixed Response in Appalachia.” National Public Radio. (March 27, 2006). http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5300507
  • Morales, Alex. “UN Renewables ‘Bible’ Says Clean Energy Can Outstrip Demand.” Bloomberg. (May 4, 2011). http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-05-04/un-renewables-bible-says-in-report-that-clean-energy-can-outstrip-demand.html
  • National Archives. "Records of the Rural Electrification Administration." (April 20, 2011)http://www.archives.gov/research/guide-fed-records/groups/221.html
  • National Energy Renewal Laboratory. "Economic Benefits, Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Emissions Reductions, and Water Conservation Benefits from 1,000 Megawatts (MW) of New Wind Power in Massachusetts." March 2009. (April 20, 2011)http://www.windpoweringamerica.gov/pdfs/economic_development/2009/ma_wind_benefits_factsheet.pdf
  • Priesnitz, Wendy. "Ask Natural Life: Are Wind Turbines Dangerous?" Natural Life Magazine. June/July 2007. (April 23, 2011)http://www.naturallifemagazine.com/0708/asknlwind.htm
  • Rony, Matthew J. "Wind Power Soared Past 150,000 Megawatts in 2009." Earth Policy Institute. March 30, 2010. (April 23, 2011)http://www.earth-policy.org/index.php?/indicators/C49/
  • The Illustrated History of Wind Power Development. "Wind Power's Beginnings." (April 21, 2011)http://telosnet.com/wind/early.html
  • U.S. Energy Information Association. "Electric Power Industry 2009: Year in Review." January 2011. (April 23, 2011)http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/electricity/epa/epa_sum.html
  • U.S. Department of Energy. "History of Wind Power." Sept. 12, 2005. (April 23, 2011)http://www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/wind_history.html
  • U.S. Energy Information Administration. "Wind Generation Vs. Capacity." January 2011. (April 23, 2011)http://www.eia.doe.gov/cneaf/solar.renewables/page/wind/wind.html
  • U.S. Department of Energy. "History of Wind Power." Sept. 12, 2005. (April 22, 2011)http://www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/wind_history.html
  • Webber, Michael. "Solar on the Horizon." Austin American Statesman. (April 23, 2011)http://www.statesman.com/opinion/insight/solar-on-the-horizon-407197.html?printArticle=y
  • Wind Energy: The Facts. "Growth of Wind Turbine Size." (April 23, 2011)http://www.wind-energy-the-facts.org/en/part-i-technology/chapter-3-wind-turbine-technology/evolution-of-commercial-wind-turbine-technology/growth-of-wind-turbine-size.html

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