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A Promising Future for Wind Energy


This past year, wind energy output rose to account for more than 9% of the U.S. electricity supply. Wind energy provides a low-cost clean energy alternative to millions in the United States. In South Dakota and Iowa, wind energy provides over 50% of the state's energy. With the continuing growth, strong performance, and impressive electricity supply provided by wind energy, the future of this alternative energy looks bright.

Wind power is obtained through wind turbines which use the wind’s kinetic energy and convert it to electrical energy through generators within the turbines. A small turbine can generate 100 kilowatts of power which is enough to power a home continually. A large turbine can produce 4,800 to 9,500 kilowatts of power which can then be used, stored for future use, or connected to electrical grids. To increase the electricity generated, turbines are often grouped in clusters called wind farms on land or offshore which can generate power for thousands of homes. The largest wind farm, called the Walney Extension, located off the coast of England, is bigger than the island of Manhattan in New York and can supply an astounding 600,000 homes in the United Kingdom with power.

New advancements are being made quickly in the wind energy industry. Turbine performance has improved due to the increasing size in turbine height and blade length, both of which allow more wind energy to be generated. Prices for wind turbines and installation costs have even decreased by a large amount from 2010, and cheaper turbines mean more can be utilized. With the increasing interest in clean energy and decreasing costs for wind turbines, wind energy advancements will only continue to increase.

Wind energy is a great way to replace fossil fuels and even provide health benefits. Simply shifting from fossil fuel sources to wind energy will cause a significant decrease in carbon dioxide emissions which would provide significant environmental, health, and societal benefits to name a few. Wind power generates minimal CO² emissions, meaning it does not contribute to climate change or pollute the air nearly as much as fossil fuels such as coal do. Coal produces 980 grams of CO² per kilowatt-hour, while wind energy produces only about 11 grams. By drastically decreasing the number of greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere through wind energy, people will be able to breathe easier; there will be fewer pollution-related illnesses, fewer pollution-related costs, and a much happier environment.

Though the effort of running a wind plant and the cost of it may be intimidating, the many societal, health, and environmental benefits far outweigh those costs. As countries aim to move away from fossil fuels and decrease the amount of greenhouse gas emissions in the atmosphere, wind energy is an excellent alternative renewable energy source to turn to.


Citations

  1. " Report Highlights Technology Advancement and Value of Wind Energy". Science Daily.https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2022/08/220818164043.htm

  2. “How Wind Energy Can Help Us Breathe Better” Energy.govhttps://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/articles/how-wind-energy-can-help-us-breathe-easier

  3. “Wind Market Reports: 2022 Edition” Energy.govhttps://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-market-reports-2022-edition

  4. “Wind Energy” National Geographic.https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/wind-energy


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