The nation’s wind power is growing, but in order to get the wind power to the areas that need it the most, billions of dollars in transmission lines will have to be built.
Although transmission lines are growing, it will take it a while before it catches up to the nation’s wind resources, which are concentrated in the center of the country. Transmission lines will need to be built in order to move that power to large population centers to the east and west.
“In the meantime, regulators, generators, and utilities have to deal with transmission congestion and wind curtailments, the temporary shutting down of generation to maintain system balance and reliability. Those hurdles increase the costs of renewable energy and decrease its environmental benefits.”
According to the federal Energy Department, the nation’s wind capacity increased to more than 60,000 megawatts in 2012, thanks to favorable tax treatments and state mandates.
Read more about transmission grid projects in the Midwest.
The world’s number 3 maker of wind turbines expects the global wind power market to more than quadruple by 2030.
At a renewable energy conference in Berlin, chief executive of Siemen’s wind power division Markus Tackle said, “The market will shift away from Europe significantly,” and instead see a strong growth in Asia.
He predicts that globally, wind power capacity would increase to 1,107 gigawatts in 2030 from the 273 GW in 2012. The company also predicts that Asia and the Pacific region would account for more than 47 percent of the total, which would be up 34 percent from today.
“China is pumping billions of euros into wind power, which is more cost-competitive than solar energy and partly able to compete with coal and gas. Wind power subsidies in most parts of Europe are being slowly scaled back.”
Read more about the report at Navigant Research.
Researchers found that wind energy could power civilization 100 times over, but is it possible?
Can wind power ever meet the world’s energy needs? A study published this week in Nature Climate Change sought to find the answer to that question.
Right now wind power supplies about 4 percent of electric power in the U.S. but the study found that if we harnessed all the untapped wind, we would have enough to power the world. In fact, the study found that there’s enough wind potential to “power human civilization 100 times over.”
But the authors acknowledged the limitations of the study saying, “We were looking at the geophysical limits of what the Earth could handle. We didn’t necessarily restrict our study to what was feasible,” said Kate Marvel, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
If it were feasible, there would be a dramatic increase in turbines, and would require increasing power transmission lines. It’s certainly not a small undertaking, but wind power is rapidly becoming a common source of energy, especially in the Midwest.
In fact, in 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy released a comprehensive report “estimating that wind power could provide, at most, 20 percent of U.S. electricity by 2030.”
Source: Washington Post
“I’ve been a longtime wind energy skeptic, but the sea of gigantic wind turbines piqued my interest,” wrote contributing writer Fred Logan in the Kansas City Business Journal.
A recent drive through the Smoky Hills Wind Farm led Logan to conduct a bit of research on the history of wind energy in Kansas. He found that the Smoky Hills Wind Famr supplies electricity to five utilities in Kansas and Missouri and is designed to produce enough electricity for 85,000 homes.
Kansas is not new to the wind energy market. In fact, the American Wind Energy Association recently reported that Kansas led the nation in the number of wind turbines under constation with 663. What’s more is that BP Wind Eneryg is spending $800 million to construct a massive wind farm in south-central Kansas.
Kansas is second only to Texas in wind power capacity, so that’s just the start of Kansas’ wind potential. The Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) estimates that the state’s wind energy output could increase from the current 1,224 megawatts to 7,158 megawatts by 2030, creating 7,000 new jobs and have a $7.8 billion economic impact.
There’s no doubt that wind energy is a large investment, “but out on the plains, where the wind blows free, there’s abundant energy and economic potential.”
Source: Kansas City Business Journal