Rather importantly, these wind turbines are obviously working financially for their owners and for the power companies also. That means in a world with a paucity of safe investments, these investments are gold.
We can expect the build out of these turbines to continue booming until the installed base is maximized at an order of magnitude higher. I cannot think of a better industrial stimulus program to replace the failed housing stimulus plan that foundered in the morass of sub prime lending.
Other technologies are rising but are still in the maturation stage. This is important to understand. We cannot buy time to make a technology bullet proof. Wind technology is presently bullet proof and it has cost forty years to achieve this.
It therefore make great sense to load our grid with as much wind power as can be properly handled, say 20% to 30% of grid load. It has certainly succeeded in Europe and is obviously working everywhere else.
It is not the final answer, but it is a great stimulating solution for the next five years while we get over the subprime hangover.
US Officially Leads World in Wind
Written by Jack Moins
Friday, 06 February 2009
The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC), a consortium of wind power supporters, based out of Brussels has announced some news that will have a lot of us pretty geeked. Last year, they revealed, showed tremendous gains in the wind market, growing 28.8 percent, to reach 120 GW of installed capacity.
Steve Sawyer, Secretary General of GWEC adds, "The 120 GW of global wind capacity in place at the end of 2008 will produce 260 TWh and save 158 million tons of CO2 every year."
In the race fight climate change, and move away from geopolitically volatile, deletable fossil fuels, wind offers the promise of oodles of largely untapped power. As Bob Dylan would say, "The answer my friends, is blowing in the wind."
Last year the U.S. started to exploit this resource in earnest, with 50 percent growth, to reach 25 GW of capacity. The big news is that for the first time the U.S. seized the world lead in wind power production, wresting it from former champion Germany.
This year, Germany came in a close second at 24 MW, while alternative-energy-friendly-Spain filled in at third. China, though, perhaps earns the biggest pat on the back for taking fourth place after managing to double its growth for the fourth year in a row. If it continues on this pace, it may soon seize the wind power lead, and help get the coal power monkey off its back.
Cost wise, wind is relatively affordable, almost as cheap as coal and nuclear, and significantly cheaper than solar. However, the unprecedented wind power growth also brings challenges. The young industry has yet to figure out a good scheme to store power to offset its variable nature, much like solar. However, with money and projects flowing in like, well... the wind, the industry seems ready to tackle such a challenge.