At Keep A Breast and Non Toxic Revolution, April 22nd is a big deal. In fact, we take the day off. Why?... Because its Earth Day! We try to take that time to do something good for others or ourselves, and make our planet a better place. In that spirit, every day this week for Earth Week, we will provide you with different project and tip ideas so that you can join the Revolution and be your own eco super hero! Today’s element is… WIND!
Harnessing the Power of Wind
I have an irrational fear of wind turbines. You know the solar power ginormous windmills that create wind power? I have no idea why… when I drive by them my palms get sweaty, my heart beats faster, I have that “I’m about to go on a roller coaster” feeling in my stomach. Yet at the same time I find them fascinating. So when we decided to do a week’s worth of blogs for Earth Day themed around the elements I jumped on the chance to take WIND. I figure the more you learn about something the less intimidating it can be. Right? Well maybe not… I actually learned that the Wind has a HUGE power – but not to worry folks – if we harness the energy we can all be better off for it.
Why Wind Power?
Although the answer might be easy to most of it.. I figured starting with the basics is essential. The chart below shows fuel sources used to generate electricity in the US. However there are a lot of regional differences not shown. In the US the Northeast uses more natural gas and a lot less coal, and the Midwest uses less natural gas and more coal. However if we look worldwide, the vast majority of electricity is created by burning fossil fuels to make steam to drive turbines. So looking at this chart we can see a need for energy that is made using renewable clean energy.
But what is clean energy, or "green energy". Simply stated green or clean energy is a source of energy that would be considered renewable if it is a natural resource on earth and it can be naturally replenished on a relatively short time scale. Not only is clean energy renewable but it also will not produce harmful pollutants or emissions and will not harm ecosystems, making it green. So here we are left with the obvious choice.. when you can purchase items using clean energy.
Wind energy is one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world. In the United States, the installed capacity of wind energy continues to grow by 50% each year starting back in 2008 when we installed 8,358 MW of new wind energy. Wind energy is growing at this rate because the cost of electricity produced by wind energy is competitive with electricity produced by natural gas, oil, coal, or nuclear power.
If you don't have access to a wind farm you can offset your electricity costs just by "buying the wind". Seems easy enough right? There are two ways to "buy renewable energy" in the US. The longest lasting impact for yourself would be to install renewable energy onsite (e.g. solar panels or wind turbines). However, it's usually easier said that done. Yes Obama was able to put a solar panel on the white house... but for those like myself who rent, this is often cost too costly for most homeowners and in the case of wind power, is rarely an option due to zoning and wind quality issues.
So whats the solution? Support wind power generation on the electric power system by purchasing renewable energy credits (RECs). Many large companies, government institutions, non-profit organizations such as Keep A Breast, educational institutions and individuals choose this option because it: helps wind farms grow, reduces our dependence on fossil fuels, fights climate change, supports rural farmers, sends a message about public support for renewable energy.
As Renewable Choice explains it The United States power grid is like a big bathtub filled with electrons. Power generators of all types dump their electricity into this bathtub. Since most of these electrons come from burning fossil fuels, this “water” is pretty dirty. We all draw electricity from this bathtub, so we can’t help but consume a lot of “dirty water”.
Wind farms generate renewable energy credits (RECs) every time they generate electricity. Renewable Choice Energy sells these credits on behalf of the wind farms. Purchasing RECs allows consumers to guarantee the electricity they consume is replaced on the grid by clean power. The more people who purchase RECs, the cleaner the “water” gets. Renewable Choice makes it easy and affordable to purchase wind farm RECs. To learn more about our variety of wind power products, visit their Wind Power product page.
Building My Own Wind Power!
Their are literally hundreds of websites out there that show you how to build your own wind turbines. From the simple kids projects on Kid Wind including how teachers can get involved or Hugh Piggott's site on building wind generators for your home you can see a full list of sites on builditsolar.com.
Tune in every day this week before Earth Day for more ways on how to become an eco super hero! If we let our powers combine… we can save this PLANET!