A new study by researchers at Stanford University has estimated the global potential for wind power at 80 meters above the ground (the approximate height of today's wind turbines). The researchers used wind-speed measurements taken at 10 meters at 8,000 locations around the world to estimate wind speeds at 80 meters. They concluded that 13 percent of the sites had winds of 6.9 meters per second or faster--strong enough to make wind-based power generation cost-effective. If these locations represent a good sample of the world's land area, the researchers report, there is easily enough potential wind power to meet the world's electricity demands. In 2002, just .3 percent of the world's electricity supply came from wind power.in case this page disappears see below
Wind farms in the mountains. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. Once you learn what they do they can become very appealing. The noise can be bothersome.
I recently visited the turbines of Greenpowerswitch near Knoxville Tennessee. My friends at CanaryCoalition sponsored the visit to this beautiful mountain top wind farm. This particular one is on land owned by a coal mine which obviously could some day replace the need for polluting the air with coal soot.
Each tower is about 8 stories high, 12 feet wide at the base with a very quiet SHHHHHH sound that I could not hear from about 100 feet away.
Projected electrical cost by 2010 is 2 cents per kilowatt hour, down from 45 cents 20 years ago.
One of our guides who is also a Tennessee Valley Authority representative and a solar power specialist told me that solar hardware is now $5;00 - $11.00 per kilowatt hour. Wind power is much less expensive to build at about 4 cents per kilowatt hour.
Each “wind plant” takes about 1 acre and now costs $1 million each. Presently one will produce power for 100 homes. Technology exists but it must be developed for 1 tower to handle 10,000 homes.
Private enterprise now builds them and most often sells then electricity to public utilities and makes it a money maker for all. Enxco for example, makes hundreds of them and "plants" them all over the world.
A recent study shows that bird mortality is not a problem. I see them as a sign of ecological consciousness. If I were moving to an area and one community had them and the others did not I would very likely opt for the community that had the wind farms. I immediately thought of a few consciousness raising themes for business such as office building roof tops; tops of Restaurant signs with smaller 10-20 foot high “We support wind power” mini turbines -see recommended small “neighborhood“ turbine production book below
Two good books on the subject are
Small Wind Power Generation - A Good Overview, May 31, 2002 by Paul Gipe, sold at an affordable price and reviewed by Bruce Boatner on Amazon.com.
"From an individual's viewpoint (as opposed to an electrical utility), this is an excellent introductory text. I was surprised at how clearly presented the material was, while still maintaining enough of the technical formulas and rules-of-thumb to have substance. Mr. Gipe lays out the options open to anyone interested in implementing some sort of home-based electrical generation wind system and surveys a range of available products that fall into this area of the wind turbine market. Important decision-making parameters are discussed and the reader is given a good ball-park idea of how to proceed. I will be ordering the book "Wind Power For Home And Business" in order to fill in some of the details."
Wind Energy Comes of Age by Paul Gipe. High price but probably worth it
Wind energy is no longer an alternative source of energy. Improvements in performance, reliability, and cost effectiveness of modern wind turbines support my contention that wind energy has come of age as a commercial technology for generating electricity.
The book debunks the myths that wind energy is land-intensive, that wind turbines are inherently ugly, that wind energy will never make a difference, and that wind energy is unreliable. Wind Energy Comes of Age also documents wind energy's value in reducing air pollution, its positive energy balance, its contribution to meeting residential energy needs, and its effect on employment and tourism. Illustrated with more than 170 original line drawings, photographs, and charts and more than 70 tables. amazon