Whether you’ve watched wind turbines spinning or simply stood outside and enjoyed a cool breeze, we’ve all seen and felt the power of the wind. But many people may not know much about this clean, renewable source of electricity and how it’s poised to transform how we get power. So, let’s take a look at eight interesting facts about wind energy and how it transforms from a stiff breeze to your home’s outlets.
Wind power may be among the fastest-developing renewable energy sectors over recent decades, but that doesn’t mean it’s a new technology. On the contrary, humans have been harnessing the power of wind for thousands of years; first to power windmills and other mechanical processes. These high-tech, complex machines generate electricity for thousands of homes and businesses. What’s also new is our increased efficiency, which has cut costs and expanded the number of homes and businesses able to rely on wind.
Another valuable fact is that wind power accounted for more than 9% of all U.S. power consumption in 2021. But don’t be fooled – it’s a much more critical part of the overall electricity market in some parts of the country. In fact, sixteen states receive more than 20% of their power from wind, and two states generate more than half of their power from it!
Wind energy may only occupy a small niche in the energy market right now, but there are big signs that show it’s changing. Wind power generation is only becoming more trendy as more and more wind farms are becoming available, and current ones increase their efficiency. Nearly $25 billion was invested in wind power in 2020.
There’s a lot of wind out there, and it can be transformed into power just about anywhere! More than 40 states have utility-level wind power generation, and wind-generated electricity is available in all 50 states. This is in contrast to other clean, renewable energy sources like solar, which may not be as cost-effective or suitable for some environments.
Wind power creates a huge number of jobs, from good-paying blue-collar careers assembling and installing wind power infrastructure to tech jobs designing new and more efficient turbines. Recent estimates suggest that about 85,000 people are employed in the wind power industry. Still, there’s plenty of room to grow. The Department of Energy estimates there could be as many as 600,000 wind-related jobs by 2050!
For a variety of reasons, wind power offers very affordable power to end users. Currently, most wind farms sell their power to utilities for about two to four cents per kilowatt-hour. The best part about wind energy is that it only gets more affordable. Once a turbine is installed, maintenance costs are minimal, keeping costs low in the long run.
This is one of the lesser-known wind energy facts, as most people never get close to a wind turbine. Therefore, it may be hard to grasp just how enormous these structures are. The average turbine tower is about 300 feet tall, about the size of a 25-story building or a Giant Sequoia tree! They’ve gotten taller over the years in an effort to increase efficiency. Wind speeds tend to be faster at higher altitudes, allowing more power to be generated. And while those almost 200-foot-long blades may look like they’re spinning lazily, they’re actually quite speedy – 100-180 miles per hour at the tips!
It should be evident now that wind energy is among the best choices for clean, renewable, scalable power. But it’s important to remember that it’s not perfect, either. Unfortunately, the fast-spinning blades of wind turbines can be harmful to birds in some cases. In addition, it’s crucial to pick the proper sites and be mindful of nearby habitats when constructing wind power infrastructure. This is just a part of the laws that were put in place to help protect birds around wind turbines. While these downsides certainly don’t outweigh the many positives of wind energy, it’s crucial to be aware of them to minimize the effects on wildlife.
The power of the wind has been evident since long before the first human decided to harness it. We continue to improve this clean, renewable, fast-growing technology every day; one of the reasons it’s sure to play a crucial role in our energy future. There’s so much to learn beyond these eight interesting facts about wind energy. Contact Indra Energy to learn more about your options for utilizing renewable energy for your home or business.