U.S. Takes Global Lead in Wind Energy Production

Thanks to blow-hard winds, the United States has just become the world’s largest generator of wind energy.

Germany previously held this distinction, though since the United States has about 26 times more land than Germany, the milestone isn’t a huge surprise. Nonetheless, we weren’t expected to reach this point until late 2009.

“Our wind energy capacity is growing faster than anyplace else,” said Randall Swisher, the executive director of the American Wind Energy Association, the national trade organization for the wind energy industry. “So it’s no longer really alternative energy. This is very mainstream.”

During the first half of 2008, the United States, for the first time, generated more wind energy electricity than Germany, despite the fact that the smaller European country still has more turbines than we do.

Germany has enough turbines to collect about 22,000 to 23,000 megawatts of power, while the United States has a capacity of about 18,000 megawatts, Swisher said.

“The difference is that because the winds are so much stronger here in the U.S. we are actually providing more wind-generated electricity than Germany,” Swisher told LiveScience. “Our turbines are so much more productive that theirs.”

Though we are winning the race in terms of volume of wind energy produced, we are far behind when it comes to the proportion of our total energy we get from wind.

While wind currently supplies about 1.2 percent of the United States’ power, it accounts for about 7 percent of Germany’s total energy consumption. And the even-smaller country of Denmark gets roughly 20 percent of its energy form wind.


How refreshing to post something about alternative energy that is not solar!

I always thought solar would be the main deliverer of renewable energy. But Mr. T. Boone Pickens seems to think different.

It’s all fine with me. As long as my energy bills are coming down.

One thought on “U.S. Takes Global Lead in Wind Energy Production

  1. Ortiz

    Editorial: Taking baby steps to energy independence

    Jul 24, 2008 by The Baltimore Examiner Newspaper

    BALTIMORE (Map, News) – With the federal government dragging its feet on energy policy, it’s up to the states and counties to lead the way in weaning us from our finite supply of fossil fuels.

    Baltimore County last week proved itself open and ready for that responsibility. Deputy Zoning Commissioner Thomas Bostwick ruled that a Monkton family could build a 120-foot wind turbine on its 50-plus acres despite the spurious arguments of some neighbors that it would lower property values in the surrounding area, hurt wildlife and be too noisy.

    The approval meant granting an exception to a rule that caps poles on residential property at 15 feet. Given the cost of building the turbine, which could reach $120,000, we doubt this will start a stampede to the zoning commissioner’s door for more exemptions.

    But it showed the county is ready to revisit outdated rules to adapt to a changing economic climate. To prevent more zoning debates, County Council members should address the issue and pass legislation explicitly allowing turbines. Carroll County in May passed the state’s first law allowing turbines up to 150 feet in backyards.

    Aesthetics must not stop worthy alternative energy projects. No study that we can find shows wind turbines hurt property values, and accusations they will be too noisy are false. The one planned for the Antonelli family in Monkton will be as loud as a window unit air conditioner, according to the electrician for the project.

    And at what price wildlife? Environmentalists say we must not drill for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge because birds and wildlife could potentially be hurt. Must we also deny people the right to develop viable renewable energy sources because a few members of a certain species might be hurt? We need to get energy from somewhere.

    Individual windmills are no solution to the state or the country’s energy problem. As Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-6, has pointed out in these pages, we need the equivalent of a federally funded Manhattan Project to accomplish that goal.

    But in the interim, encouraging people to become energy self-sufficient by giving them the legal tools to do so only makes sense.

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