Wednesday, April 29, 2009

To everything (turn, turn, turn)

Here are some interesting factoids on wind energy that you may find appropriate to throw out at your next cookout or town meeting.

In case you're scratching your head over the title of today's post, click here or here. (GW)

Interesting wind facts

Minnesota Post-Bulletin
April 22, 2009

One megawatt of wind capacity is enough to supply 240-300 average American homes. -- American Wind Energy Association

• The United States is No. 1 in the world in total installed wind capacity as of December 2008, with 25,170 megawatts. Here are the rest of the top 10:

2. Germany 23,903 megawatts

3. Spain 16,754 megawatts

4. China 12,210 megawatts

5. India 9,645 megawatts

6. Italy 3,736 megawatts

7. France 3,404 megawatts

8. UK 3,241 megawatts

9. Denmark 3,180 megawatts

10. Portugal 2,862 megawatts

Rest of the world 16, 686 megawatts

Total top 10: 104, 104 megawatts

World Total: 120,791 megawatts

-- Global Wind Energy Council

• The wear and tear on a wind turbine has been equated to putting 100,000 miles on a car in one year. -- Minnesota Department of Commerce

• Minnesota has mandated that utilities in the state derive 25 percent of their power for renewable resources by 2025. -- Associated Press

• Minnesota is one of 26 states to have a renewable energy mandate. -- Associated Press

• More that 5,200 megawatts of wind generation -- enough to serve 1 million average American homes -- was installed in 2007. -- AWEA

• In 2007, an analysis from global energy consulting firm Wood Mackenzie found that providing 15 percent electricity from renewable energy resources by 2020 (through a federal renewable electric standard) could lower consumer expenditures by nearly $100 billion, reducing both natural gas prices and electricity prices.

• To generate the same amount of electricity as today's U.S. wind turbine fleet (16,818 megawatts) would require burning 23 million tons of coal (a line of 10-ton trucks over 9,000 miles long) or 75 million barrels of oil each year. -- AWEA

• Wind projects occupy anywhere from 28 to 83 acres per megawatt, depending on local terrain, but only 2 to 5 percent of the project area is needed for turbine foundations, roads or other infrastructure. -- AWEA

• Of every 10,000 human-related bird deaths in the United States today, wind plants cause less than one. The leading cause of bird deaths is cats, who kill 1 billion birds in the United States each year. -- AWEA

• Germany is the world leader in terms of installed wind power, with more than 22,000 megawatts installed, yet it has only a fraction of the wind energy potential that North Dakota alone has. -- AWEA

• New, larger turbines (1 to 3 megawatts) generate 120 times as much electricity as 1980s models at one-fourth the per-unit cost. -- AWEA

• Each megawatt of wind provides up to three job-years of employment. -- AWEA

• Wind provides one skilled operations/maintenance job for every 10 turbines installed. -- AWEA

• Wind projects accounted for about 30 percent of all new power generating capacity added in the United States in 2007, up from less than 1 percent in 2002. -- AWEA

• The newest turbines run at only 12 revolutions per minute.

•Because winter months are windier than summer months and cold air is denser than warm air, turbine blades push harder and turn faster to generate more electricity in the winter. -- SMMPA

• The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all previous records in 2008, installing 8,358 megawatts of new generating capacity. That is enough to serve 2 million homes. -- AWEA

• The industry now generates 25,170 megawatts of wind energy, producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 7 million households. -- AWEA

• The share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components has grown from less than 30 percent in 2005 to nearly 50 percent in 2008. Wind turbine and component manufacturers announced, added or expanded 70 new facilities in the past two years, including more than 55 in 2008. Those new manufacturing facilities created 13,000 new direct jobs in 2008. -- AWEA

• Turbines start turning when the wind speed reaches 3 meters per second (6.7 mph). To protect themselves, they stop turning if the wind reaches 20 meters per second (44.7 mph). -- Horizon Wind

• One of the largest wind turbines in the world was assembled in February off the coast of northern Germany. This 6-megawatt turbine has a rotor diameter of more than 410 feet. One of these turbines is said to produce enough energy for nearly 5,800 households.


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