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Wind Would Power 20% of America for Cost of Four Months in Iraq

By Stacy Feldman

May 13, 2008

Right now, wind supplies about one percent of US electricity.

The most welcome news all week? America could ramp that up to 20% by 2030 for an investment of just $43 billion, the DOE has found in a new eye-popping report.

What a bargain when you consider that the US will spend around $12 billion each month in Iraq in 2008.

For less than four months at that price, the nation could secure the future of its booming wind energy industry, help end its dependence on foreign oil and support a half a million jobs.

Spread that investment over several years, and it looks like a no-brainer for America.

The best part? The DOE claims that the four major obstacles to the 20% wind scenario -- transmission, siting, manufacturing and technology -- can all be overcome.

The is grabbing headlines. No wonder, it’s a technical feat.

Have a good look at the study, and be amazed at just how practical clean energy generation at the utility-scale can be in America.

The DOE says that to meet 20% of US electricity demand in 2030, wind power would have to reach over 300,000 megawatts. We're at about 17,000 now.

That means new wind power capacity would have to jump to more than 16,000 megawatts per year by 2018, and continue at that rate through 2030. (In 2007, capacity addition in the US was 5,244 megawatts.)

That's massive industry growth. Still, the DOE says it's feasible.

And if America gives big to the wind industry, expect it to give back, generously. Here are the expected benefits, from the report:

  • Support of roughly 500,000 jobs in the U.S., with an average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the wind industry.
  • Increase in annual revenues to local communities to more than $1.5 billion by 2030.
  • Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 25 percent in 2030.
  • Reduction of natural gas use by 11%.
  • Reduction of water consumption associated with electricity generation by 4 trillion gallons by 2030.


How on Earth would the opportunity be developed?

The DOE didn't base its findings on a federal tax credit. Guess they expect the incentive to expire in December. Or maybe they'd rather just do without it, knowing how damaging Washington's uneven commitment to the tax credit has been to market growth in the past.

Interestingly, it did highlight the Renewable Portfolio Standards in place in over half of all states as a possible revenue stream. Makes sense. At this point, governors have proven themselves be a safe bet to drive clean energy adoption in America.

Source: , ,



2030, anything can happen

carbon dioxide emissions,natural gas use and water consumption...really big problems.

God The most important

God The most important thing is pampering the voices in Bush's head. There is absolutely no hope for America, 8 years of Bush has driven it off an economic cliff. lol

Too Good

Too Good

Sunny Iraq is great place to

Sunny Iraq is great place to use solar energy as well

Wind Power

Simply put, when fossil fuel spills (which it does all the time) it hurts the environment. When was the last time we heard of a "Wind Spill". When was the last time "Sun speculators" drove up the price of Sun?

There is money to be made in the pumping / digging / distribution and shipping of fossil fuel. Until the Government realizes that there is money to be made with alternative energy sources, nothing will change.

It's up to us to tell them that we will pay money for alternative fuels.

We vote with our dollars.

First of all, América is a

First of all, América is a continent!!!! and finally, yes, every war is stupid.


Or, we could spend that money on more efficient / cost effective forms of alternate energy, such as tidal, nuclear, solar, or even those giant condensation towers. Wind energy is the most sporadic, largest scale, least effective form of energy out of all these choices.

Y'know. Just throwing it out there.

Good Job

Thanks for reporting on the important issues of America. Peak Oil is here, with enough foresight and planning by our so called government, "for the people by the people", we can transition into a world not dependent on oil.

Don't let the fear mongers decide for us.

Let's take America back from the politicians.

Its all bushs fault

If we didnt have the war Im just sure we would have 43 billion in windmills all over the usa. HAHAHAHA

The TREEhuggers hate windmills because innocent birds fly into the blades.

I would rather have a nuke go off in every major city then fight the terrorists.

man, you're dumb

man, you're dumb

i agree ;-)

i agree ;-)

A better source of wind power

High-altitude windmill, less regulation necessary. Utilizes more stable winds. It's cheaper than normal windmills, too. The biggest problem with implementing on a really large scale would be getting enough helium.

High Altitude windmill

It is one of those technical feasible, but not practical idea - Helium is a scarce, natural gas by-product. There is only a handful of producer in the world.

The current prototype, from what I can see, can be easily damaged too. And all Helium balloons leak - so these windmill will have to be bring down and re-charge periodically, and send them back up.

For the coastal area, tidal wave energy (like the one being tested in NY City) may eventually be more practical.

Who Cares About Progress

The most important thing is pampering the voices in Bush's head. There is absolutely no hope for America, 8 years of Bush has driven it off an economic cliff.

Who Cares About Progress

The most important thing is pampering the voices in Bush's head. There is absolutely no hope for America, 8 years of Bush has driven it off an economic cliff.

Wind Power for America

Without the rapid growth of plug-in battery electric assisted cars, the ballasting of the existing grid to take advantage of the good wind times could cause a nightmare of power wasted.
We need charging stations with fleets of standard size batteries ready to be charged and absorb the wind power when it comes onto the grid. These charging stations should be located like current day gas stations. They should rent the batteries to the users. Just drive up, and a forklift changes your batteries for a fee - as fast as filling a gas tank.
Wind power is intermittent at best. Hungry batteries from cars can be charged by the charging station at variable rates and times.
Desert solar electric plants should also feed the existing grid and be likewise ballasted because cloudy days and night-time occur. Current street lamps should be replaced by LED equivalents, and the power saved should go to charging automotive batteries.

Smart-Grid and Inteligent charger

I had a discussion with someone from TVA a few weeks ago. The future plug-in hybrid/full electric car can put tremendous load on our electric grid.

The solution is to build intelligence into the charger to monitor both the power generation output and the load of the grid (down to your building block) so excess generated power can be "buffered" in these batteries, typically at night, and potentially feed it back to the grid during the day.

It will take quite an infra-structure but the efficiency gain can be substantial.

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