Lassoing the Wind to Power the World

In order for humanity to continue to thrive, it is critical to find alternative sources of renewable, virtually inexhaustible energy. Wind energy conversion is a viable option and one that does not add stress to the ecosystem of this great planet Earth. Although fossil fuel is currently in abundance, the eventual reduction of these sources of energy will cause a quick increase in price. We can no longer make do with fossil fuels and Middle Eastern oils, and there is the real threat of global warming, which is well proven and is quickly becoming a priority issue in environmentalist circles. The federal government’s involvement in wind energy research began full steam following the Arab Oil Crisis of 1973, however it was slow to show results due to political factors and lack of financial support. Wind energy is in abundance, is renewable, clean, and limits toxic greenhouse gas emissions when used to replace fossil fuel electricity.

In the not too distant future, energy derived from the wind will be the most cost effective way to harness electrical power. It is not really known what the true cost of the fossil fuel life cycle is, from mining/extraction to the transportation, including political costs, but certainly it is more than the current wholesale rates. Commercial wind turbines are now harnessing energy in more than 65 countries, which makes wind power the world’s quickest growing source of energy after solar power. Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy released their first Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation Cost and Performance Trends: 2006. This report provides a comprehensive look at the developing trends in the wind power market in the United States. A significant finding the Report found out is that the U.S. wind power capacity increased by 27 percent in 2006; and that the U.S. had the fastest growing wind power volume in the world in 2005 and 2006. More than 61 percent of the U.S.’s total wind capacity – over 7,300 Megawatts (MW) – has been installed since President Bush took office in 2001. For the second straight year, in 2006, the U.S. led the world by installing 2,454 MW of wind power capacity, enough to provide energy in the homes of a city the size of Philadelphia. The U.S. produced roughly 16 percent of the worldwide wind market, followed by Germany, India, Spain, and China. The recent Report looks at trends in the marketplace, which include wind power prices compared to wholesale electricity prices, project costs, turbine sizes, and developer consolidation. In addition, it also describes the increasing performance of wind projects, current ownership and financing structures, and trends among major wind power purchasers. By compiling this information in one document, the report provides an important resource to industry participants, energy regulators, and state and local policymakers.

Modern wind power is made in the form of electricity, by converting turbine blades into electrical current with the use of an electrical generator. The older technology employed with windmills used wind energy to turn mechanical machinery to do physical labor such as pumping water. Wind power on wind farms is used on a large scale for national electrical grids, and also for with smaller individual turbines to give electricity to rural residences. While there is a need for refinement and improvements in the area of harnessing wind power, the major technology developments that will provide commercialization of wind power have already begun. Certainly, the outlook for change is looking bright, and it is inevitable that environmentalists, politicians, and the public will eagerly more forward in insuring that technology continually finds a way to provide a renewable source of energy in wind power.

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About Author

Hi, this is Michael Raber an avid environmentalist. I have been around and have seen the negative effects of our abuse of this world’s natural resources the most alarming of which is global warming. I felt it was my obligation to do something and I wrote some articles on the subject. Give them a read and let’s start making a difference for our children’s sake.

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