April 23, 2009

A (Relatively) Steady Breeze Lifts Wind Power Worldwide

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.

–Ronnie Lovler/Newsdesk.org

Sources:

“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

“Winds shift in energy policy / Government plans wind power generation of 500 megawatts by 2015”
April 16, 2009

“Irish Firm To Invest $1B In Chilean Wind Energy”
CleanTechBrief, March 30, 2009

5 thoughts on “A (Relatively) Steady Breeze Lifts Wind Power Worldwide

  1. It would be interesting to look up the records from “the days when . . .” the Dutch and the Spanish used wind power to dry the Zuider Zee, and mill the grain in Spain, what the locals said about it in the late Middle Ages and early Modern period in Western Europe.

    Other than that, once fossil fuels and uranium are less important in a global economy, what happens to the political weight of the nations that provide those formerly “essential” materials.

  2. Anyone complaining about negative side effects of wind should propose a reasonable alternative.

    Doing nothing against climate change will kill much more than property values: it will kill complete ecosystems, reduce agricultural production by 50%, raise sealevels, cause misery all over the world.

    We have to leave fossil fuels as soon as possible, by increasing efficiency, and replacing them with new renewables.

  3. Alternative energy isn’t restricted by the ability of engineering, the goal of GDP is the problem with alternative energy goals.
    Another obvious example of not being able to allow alternative energy solutions is the car industry.

    Discussing changes to the car industry such as:

    1)Quality, longer lasting vehicles, cars that last 25-30 years
    2)Predicting the parts that will fail and expecting to replace them
    and the neutral process required
    3)Changing the Fuel, from oil to less oil or to other types of energy
    4)Allocating driving privilages and rewards
    5)Vehicle standards for other auto’s safety, ie height requirements

    Is one of the more obvious example where green business doesn’t fit
    with the goal of GDP. Always America’s problem is take home pay,
    break even replaceable business/products.

    The cost struture of business needs to allow all demanded environmental products. It might be lucky for these products to break even over a time frame. Of course if you keep business the same you can have the fun of needing to find more of these green solution products.

    We are at a time now that the food and water is in need of enough green solution products.

  4. A (Relatively) Steady Breeze Lifts Wind Power Worldwide

    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.