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Wind Energy Sources
O. V. Leunova, EM-71
Today, people are realizing that wind power "is one of the most promising new energy sources" that can serve as an alternative to fossil fuel-generated electricity. In 1999, global wind energy capacity topped 10,000 megawatts, which is approximately 16 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity. That's enough to serve over 5 cities the size of Miami, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Five Miamis may not seem significant, but if we make the predicted strides in the near future, wind power could be one of our main sources of electricity. Is your utility company offering your family the best rates?
"With today's technology, wind energy could provide 20% of America's electricity. By the year 2012, 10 million average American homes may be supplied by wind power, preventing 100 million metric tons of CO2 emissions every year. Lessening our dependence on fossil fuels is critical to the health of all living things, and wind energy can do that.
"The 3 billion kWh of electricity produced by America's wind machines annually displace the energy equivalent of 6.4 million barrels of oil and avoid 1.67 million tons of carbon emissions, as well as sulfur and nitrogen oxide emissions that cause smog and acid rain." In other words, "more wind power means less smog, acid rain, and greenhouse gas emissions."
Germany, the US, Spain, Denmark, and India are among the world's leading nations in the acquisition of wind energy. According to Chris Flavin, a speaker at the World Oil Forum held in Denver, Colorado, on October 30, 2005, "Navarro, Spain, is utilizing wind power to generate 23% of its electricity needs." Denmark now generates 8 percent of its electricity from wind power. Flavin, a vice president and senior energy policy analyst at the Worldwatch Institute, reported that wind generated energy is growing in leaps and bounds.
This will be the next major step for this technology and will result in a dramatic increase in decentralized electricity generation. Offshore wind has the potential to deliver substantial quantities of energy at a price that is cheaper than most of the other renewable energies, as wind speeds are generally higher offshore than on land. But there is increasing energy being put in finding many other alternative sources of power and making them viable, such as geothermal and wave energy and biomass. Just as there are many types of systems for home security, there will soon be many choices for home power.
S. G. Zolotova, ELA
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