The American Renewable Energy Day (AREDAY) conference opened Thursday in Aspen, Colorado, with leaders from the sectors of government, industry, activism and science engaging on questions about how the United States can wean itself from dependency on fossil fuels.

In an early keynote speech, Lester Brown, founder and president of the Earth Policy Institute, offered 10 succinct reasons why wind power is desirable:

  • It is abundant. China, for example, has enough harnessable wind to increase its electricity consumption 16-fold.
  • It is carbon-free. Reducing carbon emissions is a key part of any plan to transition from fossil fuels.
  • It is non-depletable. What we use today doesn’t affect how much we have tomorrow.
  • It does not require any water. This is in contrast to other water-intensive energy sources, such as nuclear and natural gas.
  • It does not use any fuel. Wind farm developers are ready to sign 20-year fixed-price contracts, Brown said, because the main cost associated with wind is building the farm.
  • Wind turbines don’t use a lot of land. It’s true that wind farms take up a lot of land. But the turbines themselves only occupy 1 percent of a wind farm’s land area, which leads to the next point…
  • Land owners can double-crop. It’s possible to produce cattle, wheat, corn, and other commodities while also harvesting wind energy. Far from creating a NIMBY (not-in-my-backyard) problem, wind farms become very desirable in agricultural areas.
  • It is locally available. Wind is everywhere.
  • It scales up easily. A wind farm can go from 20 to 400 megawatts easily.
  • Wind farm construction is not time-intensive. The power can be brought online very quickly.
  • Brown cited Denmark, Spain, Germany and India as having significant portions of energy sourced from wind. But wind still represents only a small fraction of worldwide power generation (in the United States, it’s around 2 percent), and like other renewable energy sources struggling to gain on the fossil-fuel behemoths, it needs support.

    Speakers at AREDAY had varying ideas about what would finally create a breakthrough for renewable energy. For Brown, it was the problem of how to feed 7 billion people with shrinking resources: “Food prices will be the biggest indicator to bring us face-to-face with the climate problem,” he said.

    Comments

    1. Osama
      Aghfganistan
      December 11, 2014, 2:32 pm

      MORE URANIUM

    2. Arihant
      India
      March 12, 2013, 11:08 pm

      We need to analyse at what cost we are getting wind power.Capital cost,Maintenance costs and in how many years the company manage to break even?
      Whether wind power is produced effectively/ efficiently?
      One eading Wind power Co in India, Suzlon has let down its investors, falling shares , jammed wind turbines etc.

      Still, if some (how much?) units of fossils fuels can be saved economically using wind power then it must be explored and improved further.

    3. David Wells
      Lincolnshire UK
      February 13, 2013, 9:35 am

      Can you run a hospital 24/7 on a wind turbine, no. Can you undergo a 12 hour brain tumour operation in a hospital powered by a wind turbine, no. Can you guarantee to boil a kettle with electricity available only from a wind turbine no. Can you run high speed trains on electricity only available from a wind turbine no. Can you have wind turbines without fossil fuel no. Can you respond to electrical demand with only wind turbines no. Can you erect wind turbines with out access to fossil fuel no. Can you construct wind turbines without fossil fuel no. Can you service maintain and replace parts of wind turbines without access to fossil fuel no. Can you mine refine manufacture and ship all of the parts needed to construct a wind turbine without fossil fuel no. Can wind turbines survive and continue to generate electricity once finite fossil fuel has expired no. Can you manufacture wind turbines once all of the various high value and finite materials needed for manufacture have expired no. Lady you are barking mad promoting the myth that what is euphemistically described as renewable energy can survive without access to fossil fuel it cannot. At any point in time about 35% of wind turbines are out of action due to breakdown or maintenance and once past 10 years what was a derisory level of efficiency falls to almost zero maintained or not. If the wind stops blowing then they need electricity generated by fossil fuel in order to turn the blades into the wind when it next starts blowing which most likely will not be from the same direction. They also need to be kept warm in winter and turned over repeatedly when the wind does not blow otherwise they seize. I am astonished that National Geographic standards have fallen to the level of mouthing propaganda driven by greens and manufacturers and wind turbine investors in for a quick buck on the back of subsidies paid for by poor people who derive no benefit whatsoever from having their local environment devastated by an unreliable and incompatible form of electricity generation driven by political miscreants hoping to exploit the technical illiteracy of the average human being driven by superstition and fear, corrupt.

    4. Phil
      Oxford
      February 22, 2012, 6:47 am

      Wind turbines have greater long term value to society and we should invest now to be ahead of other developing nations that are hesitating with renewable energy. It won’t be long before oil & coal prices are too high and will cripple our country! Here are some important considerations:

      Wind Turbine Considerations

    5. Fred Fourie
      South Africa
      August 29, 2011, 8:08 am

      I work in the experimental wind turbine and would like to get into contact with Stacey Jordaan about a solution to the bat problems she’s mentioned? what do I do!?