Wednesday, September 12, 2012

New Studies Prove Wind Could Satisfy the World's Energy Needs

Mark Jacobson of Stanford University and Cristina Archer of the University of Delaware performed a study using computer models to predict the potential power generated by wind energy. The study found that about 400 million wind turbines at a height of 300 feet would provide energy for over half of the world's totally energy demands. Jacobs and Archer call for wind turbines on land as well as on water and especially advocate their use in high wind areas. These areas include: the Gobi Desert, the American Great Plains and the Sahara Desert.

The available wind resources are much larger than that needed to supply the world's power. This renewable resource could easily satisfy the global human energy demand." As stated in the study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

However, the study did not take a look at outside factors such as societal or economic concerns. "Wind is unaffordable, unreliable and uncompetitive without subsidies," says David Kreutzer, a research fellow with the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank. "Even at a small scale, wind costs more than getting electricity from a conventional source."

The National Resource Defense Council has addressed these concerns in two recent studies: American Wind Farms and At Wind Speed. They stress the value of wind energy as a renewable energy that doesn't pollute the air. The studies also demonstrate the economic value of wind energy. The wind energy market has added new sources of revenue for landowners, cities and towns.

The Production Tax Credit has been indispensable in creating a market for wind energy in the US, creating 75,000 jobs. The Production Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of the year with the American Wind Energy Association predicting at least 37,000 Americans will lose their jobs if it is not renewed.

Wind has the potential to help meet our energy needs and provide US citizens and residents with job opportunities. It is important that we continue to find ways of implementing the use of wind energy. Congress must continue to provide incentives for renewable energy sources to enable them to compete with the heavily subsidized fossil fuel industry. 

Angelica Oman
Graduate Program Assistant

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