Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Wind Blows at Night

It is no surprise that the mid-section of the U.S. is really the ideal hot spot for wind activity. Most of us Sustainos know that the best time to harvest the wind is at night (or perhaps during storms). Yet, there is good news on the horizon that our government entities might have underestimated our nation's wind potential. After reworking the numbers, The National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) highlights that onshore wind could generate 37 million gigawatts per year.
A hard number to grasp, right? Put it like this, 10 megawatts (MW) can power 64,000 homes. Thus 1 gigawatt (GW) can power several large cities or one large space station. So, 37 million GW is a huge potential for the U.S.

The only thing that I would like to see is the measurement of off shore wind (e.g. Great Lakes). And we know it is possible as is the case of The Horns Rev 2 Project, Denmark's largest off shore wind project (photo above). It has 91 beautiful beasts that supports 200,000 homes. Of course on the Great Lakes our measurement could be based on wind censors placed on test turbines, buildings near the lake, buoys and other locations. Advancements have already been made by Cleveland State University (turbines on the water tower) and Case Western Reserve University, but I feel we are still far away until ordinances and regulations catch up to our modern day progressive thinking! When is the last time you saw a working on shore or off shore wind turbine?

Image Source: Recharge and Fast Company 2010

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