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Renewable Energy: How Wind Power Can Solve America's Energy Needs

By Edited May 12, 2016 7 20
Wind energy generating power.

How Wind Power is Being Used

In the last decade, wind energy has become increasingly popular everywhere you look. Countries around the globe have been investing more and more money into wind turbines in an effort to generate clean power that is efficient and safe for the environment. In fact, from the years 2000 to 2006, wind energy worldwide increased by a factor of four. This incredible growth has come as a result of technological advances in turbine design and manufacturing processes. New materials and aerodynamic turbine designs are clearing the way for wind power to make an astounding leap from providing 2% or the worlds energy in 2009, to potentially fulfilling one third of out total energy needs by the year 2020.

What other countries are doing:

Countries such as India, China, France, and Germany have invested a great deal of money into wind energy over the last decade. As a result of this, these countries are far ahead of the United States in terms of solving their renewable energy problems. The main problem with wind energy is that the initial cost of the turbines and installation is very expensive. This high initial investment has made many investors (including the United States government) weary of pursuing wind power in any great extent. Other countries around the globe, including those previously mentioned, are taking steps towards energy self sufficiency by investing in a technology that uses an unlimited natural resource (wind) to supply large amounts of clean power to replace more traditional fossil fuels which have harmful affects on the environment.

How Wind Power Works

Traditional Methods

In order to harvest wind power, turbines are used to transfer wind energy into usable electrical power. Wind is a renewable natural resource that is created as a result of the sun shinning unevenly on the surface of the earth. This creates a difference of temperatures among areas that receive different levels of sunlight. Different temperatures means a change in pressure which results in air moving from high to low pressures, this movement of air is what we know as wind.

Turbine blades operate under the principle that a difference in air pressure will cause the blades to spin. Once spinning, the turbines begin producing electrical power by using an assortment of gears and a generator. Wind turbines can produce an incredible amount of energy if there is enough wind to turn them very fast.

The largest wind turbine in the world is located in Germany. The Enercon E-126 stands around 450 feet tall and can produce as much as 7 megawatts of power. This is enough power to entirely provide for 5,000 German households which is very impressive for a single turbine. Similar projects are under construction in China, India, and France.

Offshore Turbines

Many European countries have also begun using offshore turbines to collect large amounts of energy from the strong coastal winds. In fact, coastal turbines account for a large portion of Europe's total wind power generation. In the United States such methods should be used for generating wind energy. There have been many recent advancements in turbine and blade technology that make power generation more efficient than ever. This new technology combined with techniques such as offshore harvesting should be implemented in the United States to help solve our current energy problem.

Wind turbine components and operation

Solving America's Energy Problem with Wind Energy

How America can benefit from wind power:

Throughout the past decade, countries all around the world have begun using energy from wind turbines as an effective way to create large amounts of clean, usable electrical power. The same techniques used by most of the globe should be adopted and expanded upon within the United States.We have made small steps in this direction but has been slow because of a lack of funding for wind power projects. Despite the large upfront cost of investing in this kind of power, private investors as well as the government should encourage the expansion of wind power and choose to invest in it more aggressively. This form of power generation has the capability to solve the long term energy problems that America has yet to figure out. Building on wind energy will also decrease our dependency on foreign oil from the Middle East and have great environmental benefits.

A Local Renewable Energy Source

One great thing about wind energy is that it is a "local" source of energy. That is, when wind turbines are installed in an area, the whole surrounding area reaps the benefits. Wind projects give back to the community in the form of jobs and by moving money to that particular area's local economy. Wind is a resource that will never go away or be confined to only a small area which are both things that you can't say for oil. Also, no other country's conflicts or problems can affect power production of a turbine in the United States. Beginning to rely on wind for our energy needs will solve our dependence on foreign fossil fuels such as oil and gas.

Moving Forward Towards Clean Energy

In order to cut down and eventually eliminate America's dependence on foreign energy sources, we need to begin investing in wind technology more and more. The government, as well as private and commercial industry needs to recognize the incredible potential that this form of power can offer. After all, the rest of the world already has taken notice and is investing heavily in turbines and wind related projects. There is still more technological advances that will also need to be made. But technology has already increased greatly in recent years and with more investing in wind, these advances will happen even quicker than in the past.

Wind turbines working in America
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Comments

Mar 2, 2011 9:34pm
Ernie
Wow, that is an excellent article!
Mar 8, 2011 9:29pm
wsupaul88
Thanks Ernie! More people should know the amount of energy that is available through wind power.
Mar 21, 2011 10:52am
simongauciborda
A very informative and well written article on wind energy as a renewable energy source. Well done!
Mar 21, 2011 3:09pm
Ordy116
This is one area where the United States is not leading the world. We need to step it up and set the example.
Apr 4, 2011 2:15pm
Bristolboy
I think the chance may have already gone - I still find it amazing that the world leader in wind energy is arguably Denmark of all countries!
Mar 21, 2011 8:25pm
FinancialPeaceJourne
Good article. Wind is just one way that can help us fill some of our energy needs.
Mar 21, 2011 8:59pm
wsupaul88
Thanks for the comments everyone! And I completely agree, wind has the potential to be a large part of the solution but other facets of renewable energy such as solar, hydroelectric, and geothermal power also need to be improved and expanded in order to move away from traditional fossil fuels. I'm glad you guys enjoyed my article.
Mar 22, 2011 9:07am
Deborah-Diane
Great article! We live in Southern California, and frequently drive past the wind farm on the way to Palm Springs. It is inspiring to see our nation reach out for newer, cleaner forms of energy! The sooner, the better. Just think how much better off our country would be if we had started putting solar panels on the roofs of new construction homes in the sun belt back in the 1970's, after the Arab oil embargo. Energy demand would now be much less!
Mar 22, 2011 8:31pm
LVJaye
Thanks! That was a very well written and informative article. We should have some wind farms in Nevada where it seems to always be windy.
Mar 25, 2011 1:42pm
Tessor
I haven't studied it enough to know if wind is viable for suiting all our energy needs, but I hope so. The nuclear crisis in Japan proves we must move toward better ways of generating power without the risk of major contamination.
Apr 3, 2011 11:34am
cabsolutions
I saw some offshore windfarms off the coast of Holland. I don't know why all countries don't have these. Do they cause any disruption to sea life?
Apr 4, 2011 2:14pm
Bristolboy
There are some turbines off of Holland, but there are many more off of the coast of the UK (hundreds if not a thousand already with tens of thousands planned by 2020). Studies so far are unsure if it affects wildlife - some say offshore turbines affect bird life. However, the turbine bases/foundations act like rocks and so are the equivalent of corals in that they are nuseries for sea life. Furthermore, since it is often not possible to fish within the wind farm due to cables etc there are less issues linked to overfishing etc.
Apr 4, 2011 5:17pm
wsupaul88
The biggest things hindering the rapid development of off shore turbines is the high cost and difficult accessibility. Its just easier and cheaper to build them on land at the moment.
Apr 7, 2011 4:47pm
LoveSpaces
I am so interested in alternative forms of generating energy. Renewable Energy through Wind Power is surely a viable solution - just I am not convinced that these turbines are a good long term solution. I am looking forward an even more environment friendly mechanisms.
Apr 12, 2011 11:00am
dcarverroi
New energy sources has to be found as our natural resources are declining rapidly.
Apr 12, 2011 11:19am
packerfan12
Wind powered is a great and clean source, we as Americans have to learn to adjust however. We are all just so addicted to gas and oil, that its hard to switch over. So looking at the big picture it is more of a social problem.
Apr 16, 2011 10:30pm
contentsynergy
One of the biggest problems here in Texas is infrastructure - getting the power from the source to the grid. There is also limited capacity (pun intended) for storing wind power effectively. As promising as wind energy is, we need to do more that raise the towers - we need to rework the power grids.
Apr 20, 2011 8:59am
sabine
There is another generation of wind power for the residential side. The new wind turbines are among the coolest green home improvement products out there.www.SabinesHome.com
Apr 20, 2011 4:13pm
infob0724
That's right the way of our future here, very good article, North America gets the most wind of any continent.
May 15, 2013 8:48pm
MrRooibos
Great article, super informative
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