07 March 2010

A no brainier!

Right now, wind supplies about one percent of US electricity.

The most welcome news all week? America could ramp that up to 20% by 2030 for an investment of just $43 billion, the DOE has found in a new eye-popping report.

What a bargain when you consider that the US will spend around $12 billion each month in Iraq in 2008.

For less than four months at that price, the nation could secure the future of its booming wind energy industry, help end its dependence on foreign oil and support a half a million jobs.

Spread that investment over several years, and it looks like a no-brainer for America.

The best part? The DOE claims that the four major obstacles to the 20% wind scenario -- transmission, siting, manufacturing and technology -- can all be overcome.

The 248-page DOE analysis is grabbing headlines. No wonder, it’s a technical feat.

Have a good look at the study, and be amazed at just how practical clean energy generation at the utility-scale can be in America.

The DOE says that to meet 20% of US electricity demand in 2030, wind power would have to reach over 300,000 megawatts. We're at about 17,000 now.

That means new wind power capacity would have to jump to more than 16,000 megawatts per year by 2018, and continue at that rate through 2030. (In 2007, capacity addition in the US was 5,244 megawatts.)

That's massive industry growth. Still, the DOE says it's feasible.

And if America gives big to the wind industry, expect it to give back, generously. Here are the expected benefits, from the report:

  • Support of roughly 500,000 jobs in the U.S., with an average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the wind industry.
  • Increase in annual revenues to local communities to more than $1.5 billion by 2030.
  • Reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 25 percent in 2030.
  • Reduction of natural gas use by 11%.
  • Reduction of water consumption associated with electricity generation by 4 trillion gallons by 2030.

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