Monday, June 29, 2009

Wind Power

As I was driving along Interstate 5 last Friday, I listened to Science Friday on NPR. Listen to this program for the latest on wind power.

windmills over i-580 2


  • Wind power could provide several times the power consumed today worldwide
  • Capital costs are higher for wind turbines than coal and natural gas
  • Fuel costs for wind (free) are much lower than coal and natural gas
  • Investment are required in the electric distribution grid to move power from windy areas to large populations
  • In the short term, more efficient consumption of energy may have a greater impact on reducing fossil fuel use than conversion to alternative energy sources

I recommend listening to the program for specifics. It's about ten minutes of audio. The guests, Revis James, Director of the Energy Technology Assessment Center at the Electric Power Research Institute, and Michael McElroy, Professor of Environmental Sciences at Harvard University, present good practical trade-offs and theoretical analysis of deploying wind turbines.

When I turned off I-5 to I-580 to return to San Francisco, I looked at all the wind turbines above the freeway. It would be great if we figure out how to harness all that free power.

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