The Rise of Renewable Energy Steadily over the past ten years, Americans and policy-makers have become more aware of renewable resources, their importance and benefits. There are four renewable resources: solar, geothermal, hydropower, and wind. The Department of Energy (DOE) is exploring the quality of each of these resources by looking for five important attributes.
1. Is the source renewable?
2. Can it be produced frequently and often?
3. Is this source domestic?
4. Are the facilities the source would need large or small?
5. Is this resource clean? Can it be manufactured cleanly?
For each of these renewable resources, the answers to the questions are promising of a greener future. Wind, specifically, within the past six years, has become known within the Green community as one of the most energy and cost efficient resources for electricity. The U.S. Department of Energy hopes that at least five-percent of American’s electricity will be powered by wind energy by 2020.
How it Works Although there are several different models of wind turbines, varying in height, weight and capacity, all work the same way. The turbines we are familiar with today are modeled after the windmills that were popular in the early 1900’s, but feature sleeker appearance. Their modern aesthetic isn’t just for show; it actually helps the turbine gain its energy. Expertly designed, the long, white protrusions shrink in width as they extend from the generator, creating different levels of pressure. In doing so, the design keeps the blades turning and producing energy. The generator at the giant fan’s center is where the electricity is harvested. Without the smart design of the blades or the set of gears inside this center, the turbines would not be as powerful.
Farmer’s New Harvest: Wind Farmers, operating small or large-scale farms, are choosing to purchase wind turbines to power their work. In Texas, farmers use the produced energy from the turbines to pump water for their livestock. In Iowa, the energy is harvested to generate water for crops, such as corn stalks. California, Minnesota, Colorado, Wyoming, the list continues with states where farmers are choosing to invest in a piece of the future. However, being part of this movement isn’t an easy decision. Just one turbine is over 300 feet high and with each of its blades at 116 feet in length, transportation and installation costs aren’t cheap. The towering, typically white in color, mechanism does offer profit to those who choose to invest in wind power. One farmer from Iowa reported $6,000 per year revenue from just three turbines, allowing him and his family to eventually profit. The government is attempting to keep the costliness of wind power attractive to the American public by offering tax credits and found great success in the program just this past year. Some states may offer incentives to those looking to be a part of wind energy’s success, as well. For those who may not have the funds to invest in wind turbines, resourceful individuals have created co-ops across the country, geared at lowering costs as well as creating a community with greener goals.
The Future of Wind Power From the plains of the West to the rolling hills of Northern California, farmers are discovering the benefits of wind power. And even though turbines don’t take up a lot of space, due to their vertical build, there is a need for ensuring further advancement. Innovators of sustainability have begun and successfully completed projects for offshore turbines. An analysis imparted by Siemens, a European company and one of the pioneers of environmentally-friendly resource allocation, suggests that the future of wind power is in offshore because it produces more economic and social benefits than turbines located on land. Wind power, regardless of on land or offshore, helps Americans gain independence by slowly eliminating importing and keeping our resources local; wind power produces jobs in several different fields (science, labor, sustainable agriculture, business management); and wind power produces no air or water pollution.