What is Wind Energy?
Wind is a clean, inexhaustible, indigenous energy resource that can generate enough electricity to power millions of homes and businesses. Wind energy is one of the fastest-growing forms of electricity generation in the world. The United States can currently generate more than 25,000 megawatts (MW) of electricity from the wind, which is enough to power about 7 million average American homes(1).
All renewable energy (except tidal and geothermal power), and even the energy in fossil fuels, ultimately comes from the sun. The sun radiates 174,423,000,000,000 kilowatt hours of energy to the earth per hour. In other words, the earth receives 1.74 x 1017 watts of power. About 1 to 2 per cent of the energy coming from the sun is converted into wind energy. That is about 50 to 100 times more than the energy converted into biomass by all plants on earth(2).
The sun's radiation heats different parts of the earth at different rates-most notably during the day and night, but also when different surfaces (for example, water and land) absorb or reflect at different rates. This in turn causes portions of the atmosphere to warm differently. Hot air rises, reducing the atmospheric pressure at the earth's surface, and cooler air is drawn in to replace it. The result is wind(3).
Air has mass, and when it is in motion, it contains the energy of that motion (kinetic energy). Some portion of that energy can be converted into other forms mechanical force or electricity that we can use to perform work.
Wind power is the conversion of wind into a viable power source by using wind turbines, which generate electricity as they turn. Wind turbines are often situated on wind farms, which are connected to electric grids, capable of storing and distributing electricity to remote locations. Currently, wind power accounts a substantial percentage of electricity in many countries, including 19% in Denmark's, 9% in Spain and Portugal, and 6% in Germany and Ireland. As a clean, plentiful energy source, that minimizes our reliance on fossil fuels, wind power has a great deal of potential: studies show that with the advent of a national grid, wind power could come to supply one-third of American electricity needs.
Installed Wind Capacity Increases
According to the American Wind Energy Association, The U.S. wind energy industry continued new installations at a breakneck pace in the third quarter of 2008, putting over 1,300 megawatts (MW) of new wind capacity in place. That brings the total installed capacity to 21,017 MW in 35 states. Over 8,000 MW more are under construction for completion [in 2008] or early . Over 7,500 MW total is likely to have been installed by the end of 2008.
20% Wind Energy by 2030:
Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply
In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a report that "examines the technical feasibility of using wind energy to generate 20% of the nation's electricity demand by 2030. The report, "20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply," includes contributions from DOE and its national laboratories, the wind industry, electric utilities, and other groups. The report examines the costs, major impacts, and challenges associated with producing 20% wind energy or 300 GW of wind generating capacity by 2030.
Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 extended many consumer tax incentives originally introduced in the Energy Policy Act of 2005 (EPACT) and amended in the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 (P.L. 110-343)(4).
Small Wind Energy Systems > Residential Small Wind Energy Systems(5)
Residential Small Wind Energy Systems have a tax credit of 30% of cost. Use IRS Form 5695 (PDF). Must be placed in service before December 31, 2016.
With the new incentives and the increase in wind power product sales and research & development, Infinergy Wind & Solar is dedicated to assisting the end-user by providing the latest proven products at affordable prices. Wind turbines & inverters, are just a few of the items you'll find in our storefront "Shop @ Infinergy Wind & Solar". With all of the incentives, its time to act and get started with wind energy!
- American Wind Energy Association
- American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy (ACEEE)
- Database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy (DSIRE)
- International Energy Association
- Interstate Renewable Energy Council
- National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Climatic Data Center
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Wind Research section
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory's (NREL) Wind Energy Resource Atlas group
- Northwest Sustainable Energy for Economic Development(NWSEED)
- U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Wind and Hydropower Technologies Program
- U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE) Wind Resource Maps
- Wind Power Maps.orgReferences:
- (1) "Wind Research" section of National Renewable Energy Laboratory website
- (2) "Where does Wind Energy come From?" section of the Danish Wind Industry Association website
- (3) "Wind Energy Basics" section of the American Wind Energy Association website
- (4) "Consumer Energy Tax Incentives", U.S. Department of Energy Website
- (5) "Federal Tax Credit for Energy Efficiency", Energy Star Website