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Why it's important

When you turn on a light switch, that energy you are using comes from somewhere. Would you rather it come from a power plant that is burning coal or natural gas or from a wind turbine slowly turning in the breeze? We need to be able to produce large amounts of energy to support high energy demands, but we need to find ways to produce this energy in cleaner and more sustainable ways. Wind energy is one of the best bets for producing lots of clean energy. Not only is it clean, but it is also inexpensive from an energy and financial standpoint compared to the alternatives.
Not only is it clean, but it is also inexpensive
If you need one reason to support wind power, it is because this is the alternative.Credit: MorgueFile

Intermittence and Potential

The concerns about the lack of predictability of wind and the variable power output seem to not be concerns yet, as several European countries, including Spain, Germany, and Denmark already supply over 20 percent of their grids with energy from wind without adverse effects on the reliability of the system. Several US utility studies confirm that a large amount of wind can be entered into the US energy grid without impacting its reliability. The Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, a U.S. Department of Energy science and technology lab, estimates that wind power is capable of supplying 20 percent of the United States' electricity based on wind resources alone. The American Wind Energy Association puts that number at a theoretical 100 percent. Wind turbines can bring clean electricity to remote areas as well as to the general electrical grid by capturing between 20 and 40 percent of the energy in the wind.

Energy Payback Period

Wind energy is currently a viable technology competing with fossil fuels for price and with an energy payback period of only three to eight months, according the the American Wind Energy Association. This means that the amount of time for a wind turbine to produce all of the energy that went into its construction and installation is only three to eight months.

Financial Payback

Wind energy is comparable to coal and natural gas in terms of cost per KWh of energy generated. There is some debate on which is more expensive, and it fluctuates depending on conditions in which the plants are built, financing options, and commodity costs, but it is generally agreed that it is close. It is currently the cheapest of the alternative energy sources being implemented on a large scale. In Spain, it is actually saving people money to install wind turbines.
Up next: Where we are
Union of Concerned Scientists - Wind Energy
Union of Concerned Scientists general overview of how wind power works
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Union of Concerned Scientists - Wind Energy
Union of Concerned Scientists general overview of how wind power works
Click now to view
How Stuff Works - Wind Power
How Stuff Works overview of wind power
Click now to view
Union of Concerned Scientists - Wind Energy
Union of Concerned Scientists general overview of how wind power works
Click now to view
Union of Concerned Scientists - Wind Energy
Union of Concerned Scientists general overview of how wind power works
Click now to view
FreeRepublic.com - North American Windpower
North American Windpower press release about Spain's record wind penetrance
Click now to view
Tomo Says:I'm the dog. They're the developers. But we both know who's more awesome.