One of the more popular forms of green, renewable energy globally, Wind Power has grown immensely in recent years. Taking the already established technology of windmills and wind-generated movement, wind turbines were developed to simply harness that movement, and transform it into tangible, usable energy.
According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), in 1990 nationwide wind power production attributed to 1% of national electricity generation. As of 2018, wind climbed to 7% of our nationwide output, and contributed to 21% of our overall consumption via renewable sources. While comparatively speaking this is not an overwhelming large amount, it shows that interest and capability of energy production from wind power is gradually increasing.
This intrigue in wind is of course not limited to the U.S. Offshore wind farms have begun sprouting up throughout Europe, including the almost 2,000 turbines in the Netherlands’ massive facilities. China even has the “world’s largest wind electricity generation capacity” (EIA), so is clearly doing its part in acknowledging their national energy consumption, and changing their sourcing accordingly.
As long as there is uneven heating of the Earth (which there will be), wind will be omnipresent in the natural world. With the capabilities to harness this natural energy and transform it into functional electrical power, by not constructing massive wind farms (despite the counter-intuitive nature in that land must be cleared to make room for said farms) we’re missing out on virtually free power, for all intents and purposes. Production costs, both in creation of turbines and externally to the environment should be considered, and if these costs outweigh the benefit to the planet and the electrical grid, they of course should be scrapped and more effective options should be pursued. But, for the time being, where we have managed to build offshore farms that provide quality energy and have minimal impacts on ecological life and the atmosphere, I see no reason not to go forward with R&D on future wind farms across the nation. The Wind Energy Technologies Office of the Department of Energy projects not only that by 2030, 20% of national consumption will be from wind energy, but that “wind can be a viable source of renewable electricity in all 50 states by 2050”, and in doing so can “avoid the emission of 12.3 gigatons of greenhouse gases”. If we can hold on to these projections, and accelerate them, we will be set up very nicely for a global transition to renewables. We have to hope that development will continue, and these farms will continue to be constructed across the country.
Department of Energy: https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-vision