What is wind power?
Wind power uses the force of the wind to drive a turbine that produces electricity. Wind power is renewable because it is created by the energy from the sun that drives the earth’s weather patterns. Typically, turbines are clustered in “wind farms” scattered throughout reliably windy areas and often share space with productive agricultural lands. These large installations supply electricity to regional power grids for sale to homes and businesses. Smaller installations to meet specific needs are also common where grid electricity is not available.
What are the benefits of wind power?
- Economic Growth: Manufacturing wind turbines and developing wind farms create jobs, diversifies local economies, and increases local tax bases. By 2020, wind energy alone could create 80,000 new jobs and $1.2 billion in new income in the U.S. Because wind farm jobs are often located in rural areas they add economic diversity to a region, cushioning local economies from changes in other sectors.
- Abundant and Inexhaustible Energy: According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), good wind areas, which cover 6% of the contiguous U.S. land area, have the potential to supply more than 150% of the current electricity consumed in the United States. Typically, within those areas only 1 to 2% of the land would be used by the turbine and access roads, leaving the rest as productive working land while giving new revenue to farmers.
- Secure and Stable Supply: Because wind farms are on U.S. soil, the power they produce would never be subject to international price spikes or interruptions from conflicts overseas. And once a wind farm is constructed, the fuel is free forever.
- Low Cost: According to the DOE, by 2010, electricity from new wind power projects will be cheaper than electricity from new conventional power plants. The cost of wind power depends on how strongly and reliably the wind blows. In very windy areas, wind power is very inexpensive. Because the wind does not blow all the time, wind power must be combined with other energy sources, but it can replace high-cost fuels like natural gas and save consumers money. In addition, wind power receives a tax credit from the federal government to encourage the industry to grow.
- Cleaner Air: Wind power helps reduce air pollution from electricity generation facilities powered by coal, natural gas and other non-renewable fuels. Because wind turbines do not burn fuel, they do not emit any carbon monoxide, particulate, and toxic chemical emissions that threaten public health and the environmental.
- Less Global Warming: Wind power produces zero emissions of CO2 or other greenhouse gases and can replace sources with high greenhouse gas emissions.
How does wind power get to my home or business?
Wind farms, like other large scale electricity generation facilities, are connected to the electricity grid. It is delivered to homes and businesses just like other sources of electricity.
Are wind turbines threats to wildlife?
Wind turbine design has changed as the technology has advanced. Some early turbine designs had blades that spun at high speeds and unfortunately were placed in important bird corridors. However, modern turbines are much bigger, quieter, and turn more slowly, reducing the threat. Potential sites are extensively studied to ensure they avoid avian populations.
Wind and the 25x’25 Alliance
25x’25 is a unique Alliance of interests, established initially in the agricultural and forestry sectors and now includes partners from the national security, business, labor, environmental, and religious communities. Wind farms provide a unique method for deriving additional revenue from working lands without interfering in day to day farming, foresting or ranching.