Wind Power 2002

By Gray, Tom | The World and I, June 2002 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Wind Power 2002


Gray, Tom, The World and I


The forces of technological advance, society's needs, and environmental concerns have converged to spotlight the industry that captures energy from air currents sweeping across Earth's surface.

The year 2001 was a remarkable one for the U.S. wind energy industry. A total of 1,695 megawatts (MW) of new wind power plants was installed nationwide. That total consists of enough new wind turbines to supply the needs of 475,000 average American households. It is also more than double the previous record of new wind energy installed in a single year (732 MW in 1999).

In the state of Texas alone, more new wind plants (915 MW) were built in 2001 than had ever been installed in the entire United States in a previous year. The surprising Texas achievement resulted from a Renewables Portfolio Standard law passed in 1999 and signed into law by then-Gov. George W. Bush. The law requires that a certain minimum percentage of new power plants in the state be ones that rely on renewable energy (solar, biomass, wind, or geothermal). Texas' rich wind resources made wind energy a natural choice for priority development.

Following this record performance, installed wind-generating capacity in the United States now stands at 4,261 MW, or enough to supply more than one million homes.

America's record year was more than matched by a record year for Germany's wind industry as well, which installed 2,600 MW. The strong totals in both countries contributed to wind energy's peak year worldwide to date--approximately 6,500 MW were added around the globe, pushing installed capacity worldwide to a cumulative level of 24,000 MW. Germany ranks number 1 with 8,750 MW in place, followed by the United States, Spain (3,337 MW), Denmark (2,417 MW), and India (1,407 MW).

Although the global total of 24,000 MW is only enough to supply about six million homes--still relatively small potatoes in the world energy picture--it represents huge potatoes and a powerful momentum for wind energy. That total is the fruit of more than a decade during which wind has been the fastest-growing energy technology on a percentage basis, expanding at an annual rate of more than 25 percent.

The effect of a 25 percent growth rate is striking. Global wind capacity has more than tripled in the past four years. Goldman Sachs, a major investment house, projects that the industry will continue to grow at a rate of 20 percent through 2015. At that rate, it would reach 40,000 MW three years from now and 100,000 MW in 2010.

Windy business

The past several months have seen a series of business deals that strongly suggest major energy corporations are becoming more interested in wind.

* Shell WindEnergy, a division of the Anglo-Dutch oil giant Shell Oil, now owns two wind farms in the United States.

* Entergy, a large American utility, recently bought a majority stake in the 80-MW Top of Iowa Wind Farm.

* TXU, a utility based in Texas that is already one of the largest purchasers of wind power in the United States, bought interests in two new wind projects in Spain.

* American Electric Power, another large utility that is positioning itself as a major player in the market, has developed a 150-MW wind farm and purchased another, both in Texas.

* PacifiCorp Power Marketing, a subsidiary of utility PacifiCorp, is purchasing and marketing power from three wind plants in the West, including the 261-MW Stateline Project, and has said it plans to add substantial wind capacity to its supply mix over the next few years.

The American Wind Energy Association believes that wind can provide 6 percent of all U.S. electricity, or nearly as much as hydroelectric power supplies today, by the year 2020.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Wind Power 2002
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?