Saturday, May 17, 2008

Wind could provide 20% of nation's energy

A Department of Energy study examines some of the costs, challenges, and impacts of generating 20% of the nation’s electricity from wind energy in 2030. The 238 page study covers key issues:

    1. Does the nation have sufficient wind energy resources?
    2. What are the wind technology requirements?
    3. Does sufficient manufacturing capability exist?
    4. What are some of the key impacts?
    5. Can the electric network accommodate 20% wind?
    6. What are the environmental impacts and benefits?
    7. Is the scenario feasible?

    It concludes:
    There are significant costs, challenges, and impacts associated with the 20% Wind Scenario presented in this report. There are also substantial positive impacts from wind power expansion on the scale and pace described in this chapter are not likely to be realized in a business-as-usual future. Achieving this scenario would involve a major national commitment to clean, domestic energy sources with minimal emissions of GHGs and other environmental pollutants.
    While it is surely encouraging, it unfortunately lends to my assertions that there are no silver bullets. Even with large scale growth, wind will only provide a small portion of our future needs. A worthy endeavor to strive it seems wind could technically supplant the 20% that is currently provided by natural gas.

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