What Does $2M Buy? How About 1800 GW Of Wind Power

A new $2 million funding program from the Department of Energy is expected to add – yes, add – yet another 1,800 gigawatts of wind power to the already formidable wind resources of the US. That’s something to keep in mind as the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline review process heats up.
 
The idea behind the new taller wind turbine program is to give the US wind industry an assist in developing taller wind turbines, with hub heights ranging from 120 meters up to 140 meters.
 
That’s a big step up from existing technology, which currently goes to the 80-100 meter range, with the average at about 90 meters.  As for why a taller wind tower, upper level winds tend to be stronger and steadier.
 

With taller wind turbines, the new program is also expected to open up an additional 237,000 square miles of wind-friendly areas for wind power potential, which is about the size of Texas (the image above compares the area change in square kilometers between the hub height of 96 and that of 140).

The areas of the US most likely to benefit from the improved wind technology are mainly located in the Southeast, where alternative energy is starting to find a friendly reception despite pushback by certain legislators from those states.

 

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