Why Wind?

How does wind power fit into the energy picture? Wind is considered renewable energy -- a natural resource that is constantly replenished and never runs out. Most renewable energy comes either directly or indirectly from the sun. In contrast, nonrenewable fuels such as coal, natural gas, uranium (fuel for nuclear power), or petroleum can run out because there are finite amounts.

The current installed capacity for wind power in the US is 6,374 megawatts (Jan 22, 2004). There are wind turbine installations in 33 states. The American Wind Industry Association says the new wind farms installed in 2003 alone will produce enough electricity annually to meet the needs of nearly 500,000 average American households.

While numerous wind farms have been built over the past few years, it is clear that the opportunity for generating additional electricity from the wind is huge. The Pacific Northwest Laboratory has studied and mapped the available wind resources nationwide in the Wind Energy Resource Atlas of the United States. If one browses the atlas, it will become clear that many states have good, virtually untapped, wind resources.

Today's wind power technologies continue to improve, and numerous good wind sites are available. Wind power is the fastest growing source of new power, according to officials in the power industry. The future for wind power looks bright.

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