Green Energy Spotlight: An Overview of Wind Power

Posted by: Anna | 01/07/2014 at 12:17 PM

Green Energy Spotlight: An Overview of Wind Power

For centuries, wind has powered new and innovative technologies. From sailing ships and water pumps to grain mills and natural ventilation in buildings, wind has helped shape the course of human history. Today, we are again turning to wind as a driving power behind green energy.

Wind power is a rapidly growing force in energy, with wind turbine use increasing at more than 25 percent annually. There are more than 200,000 wind turbines operating worldwide, including 50,000 in the U.S. Most are found in large wind farms, which are huge arrays of windmills typically located in open, windy areas, or offshore to take advantage of sea breezes.  If present growth trends continue, windmills will generate about eight percent of the world’s electricity by 2018.

Powerful Benefits, Overcoming Challenges

Wind power offers two major advantages—it generates very little pollution, and it’s infinitely renewable. Set against these are a number of challenges:

  • Environmental Impact – There are concerns about the impact of wind power on the environment such as noise and damage to wildlife, especially birds. However, studies show that in most cases the noise is minimal and that careful siting of wind farms can minimize the impact on wildlife.
  • Higher Costs – Wind energy costs slightly more to produce than conventional energy. However, as the technology becomes more common and turbine designs improve, the cost is coming down.
  • Variability – Wind energy also suffers from spikes and valleys caused by changes in wind speeds. Advances in excess capacity storage, geographically distributed turbines and exporting and importing power as needed are helping to address the issue of providing a consistent power supply.

The bottom line? Wind power is becoming an increasingly important part of the world’s energy mix, providing as much a quarter of the power used in some countries. When combined with solar power, hydroelectric and other renewable energy sources, it’s a valuable tool that allows countries to reduce their carbon footprint without cutting quality of life.

Toward a Brighter Future

According to NASA, the future of wind power could come from turbines flying high overhead on giant kites tethered to the ground, from bladeless wind turbines that operate silently, or even from satellite turbines that harvest the solar winds of outer space.

At Ambit Energy, we believe the future of wind power is bright. We are proud to support wind energy and other renewable energy technologies by offering Green-e Certified plans to our consumers. It’s just one more way we’re working to be your energy company today and tomorrow.

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