In the last few years, wind has become an increasingly attractive source of renewable energy. It is the world’s fastest growing energy technology, and is currently most prominent in Texas. In 2013, 3,200 renewable energy jobs were created in the state, for eight separate projects.
As wind becomes more and more competitive, Texas can only benefit from their lead in the growing industry. Wind currently supplies 1% of the country’s electricity needs, and is expanding rapidly. How wind energy works: giant turbines with two to three blades generate electricity by turning as a central shaft spins a generator. No pollutants are generated with wind energy. The power in wind increases with speed, so turbines in locations with strong winds are more economical.
Texas is currently generating 17,564 megawatts in wind energy, which is more than double of what the runners up, Iowa, California, Oklahoma, and Illinois are producing. The industry has flourished with the wind energy tax credit, which was given a year extension after its initial expiration.
There has been a great push for more research for wind energy in order to achieve more aerodynamic turbine blades, which would make wind energy more efficient. Texas is an ideal location because of all the low-use land near the gulf. While some in the industry hope for further extension of the tax credit, others say that a drop over time would cause minimal harm to progress, because of the momentum of the last few years. Turbines today are much quieter than those in the past due to advancements in the technology.
Comparison to Hydro Power
Wind energy is seen as more renewable than hydro power, because hydroelectricity harnessing involves a lot more building, though it has been shown to be cost effective in the power it generates. The renewable energy report from ERCOT explores the different aspects of renewable energy in the state. Wind energy’s peak load is measured differently from other energy sources because the wind is not guaranteed to blow all the time.
The conversations around wind energy continue across the country as states try to increase their renewable energy percentages. Reports from outside agencies show an objective report of progress in different states. Some reports list California on top lists of renewable energy providers, while others have a four way tie. This is due to different definitions of renewable, mostly regarding the questionable status of hydroelectricity.
Luckily, Texas and states all across the country are planning on producing more renewable energy including wind, solar, natural gas, and hydroelectricity. With the continued increase in production of and use of these renewable resources, hopefully our dependence on non-renewable resources will lessen when it comes to energy.