Is there more wind power in our future?
Lester Brown, head of the Earth Policy Institute, says we can cut our greenhouse emissions 80% by 2020, if we use the wind that's just out there for the world to use. Brown says "Ask what can be done, NOT what's politically feasible."
North Dakota, Kansas and Texas combined have enough energy to power the entire U.S. Texas is already the leading source of wind energy in the U.S. A German firm, E.ON is already operating the world's largest wind farm...in Texas. The fossil fuel folks have to be hating this.
China, says Brown, has huge wind resources and that nation will soon overtake the U.S. in wind-powered electricity generation. China has enough wind energy available, he says, to increase their energy use by seven times and supply all that with wind. China is now doubling wind generation annually. They are now working on changing their national grid to distribute this energy.
Wind, says Brown, is widely distributed. Wind farms can be built within a year, unlike nuclear plants that take much longer. He says by 2020 wind can supply the forty percent of electricity that now comes from coal-fired plants.
What I never hear anybody discuss: what effect does wind harvesting have on weather and climate patterns?
Brown points to the Club of Rome plan for using North Africa's solar energy to power half of Europe's needs. A step toward building these plants is headed by Munich Re. Here's a press release on the consortium's plans to build thermal solar plants in Algeria. Construction of thermal solar plants are already underway there. If all the slolar energy in Algeria's desert was harnessed, it could power the whole world, claims Brown.
Warning: solar thermal can be harmful to your local water supply. And where's the best thermal solar? Why, in arid lands where it's rarely cloudy and doesn't rain much.
Here's a link to Earth Policy Institute. Here's a link to Brown's recent energy commentary.
The fossil fuel fans will keep reminding the world that their answer is the cheapest way to plentiful energy. And that's currently true as long as we continue to ignore the calculus of pollution and its effects, short and long term.