Wind is a Breeze

Here on Planet Forward the virtues of wind energy have been extolled in a Texas town, the future of wind has been explored with NREL, and you can watch a wind turbine getting built in Rhode Island. We’re infatuated with wind.

A new report just released estimates that we can get over nine times the amount of energy we need from wind alone.

Not everyone is certain that we can get so much power from wind. Technology barriers exist that don’t allow us to store energy from wind efficiently and effectively when the wind isn’t blowing, and we don’t currently have the right infrastructure to get the wind from the windy middle states to the places where it’s needed.

Even President Obama doesn’t think we can get there with wind. In a recent video, he responds to a clean-energy activist by saying, “if I could do it all with wind and solar I would! We can't. Not yet.”

The estimates just released show that we have already unlocked technology that has significantly improved wind. In the past year, 10 GW of new wind power came online in the US, bringing total wind capacity up to 35 GW. Worldwide, 37.5 GW of wind power capacity was added, an increase of almost a third.

Activists are calling for a stronger Renewable Energy Standard (RES) to ramp up wind. A RES would require energy companies to include a certain percentage of wind in their energy portfolio. As blogger Mike Gaworecki argues, “The biggest holdup is the lack of an ambitious national Renewable Energy Standard. Without it, there is too much uncertainty about whether or not the wind industry will become competitive against the fossil fuels industry — which does receive major subsidies from the federal government — making potential investors wary.”

What do you think?

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