From the American heartland to China and Latin America, wind energy is becoming an increasing popular alternative energy source — though questions remain about environmental impacts.
The Fort Worth Business Press reports that Texas outranks all other states in the number of wind farms it operates.
Iowa, where President Barack Obama made a symbolic visit April 22 to commemorate Earth Day, ranks second.
In Ohio, the municipality of Avon Lake is the latest in the region to consider local initiatives to harness the breezes coming off nearby Lake Eerie.
The American Wind Energy Association said U.S. wind-power capacity increased by 50 percent in 2008, edging out Germany as the world leader in the field.
Both the United States and the European Union have a goal to generate 20 percent of all electricity by wind power by 2020.
China, meanwhile, has declared a new focus on wind energy rather than nuclear power plants.
The government aims to generate more than 100 gigawatts through wind power within the next ten years, triple its earlier goal, according to Reuters.
In Latin America, Chile is looking to build its first wind farm near the Pacific port city of Valparaiso with funding from an Irish renewable energy firm, Clean Tech Brief reported.
And Latin America Press reports that nearby Uruguay, which imports all its fuel and relies primarily on hydroelectric dams for electricity, is beginning its first wind power projects.
But it’s not all peaches and cream for wind power.
An editorial in the Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper noted that wind-power generators are useless on days when there is no wind, blight the bucolic English landscape, and have environmental impacts from wind turbines that create noise pollution and other disturbances that affect birds and humans alike.
In Canada, residents of Ontario complain that noise from wind turbines are disrupting their sleep and causing other health problems, though an official from the Canadian Wind Energy Association said there is no scientific evidence to prove that, reports the CBC.
“Avon Lake also shows interest in wind energy”
The Chronicle-Telegram (Ohio), April 21, 2009
“Wind turbines causing health problems, some Ont. residents say”
CBC News, April 14, 2009
“China’s wind-power boom to outpace nuclear by 2020”
Reuters, April 20, 2009
“Texas No.1 in wind energy, wind projects”
Fort Worth Business Press, April 13, 2009
“China Targets 100 GW Wind Power Capacity By 2020 – Official”
Dow Jones, April 20, 2009
“Are wind farms a lot of hot air… and what would we do when it’s not windy?”
The Daily Mail (U.K.), April 21, 2009
“Irish Firm To Invest $1B In Chilean Wind Energy”
CleanTechBrief, March 30, 2009