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U.S. states taking up wind energy mantle

Gains in wind power in the United States are coming up from the state level, with California among the leaders, an industry report found.

A report from the sidelines of a wind energy conference in California from the American Wind Energy Association finds the sector supports more than 100,000 jobs in the country. The state hosting the event is one of the national leaders in wind energy development and is on pace to get about half of its renewable energy needs met by wind power by 2030 — California.

Chris Brown, the president of wind power company Vestas Americas and departing head of the AWEA board, said the advancement is extending into Middle America.

“We’re lowering our costs, making the grid more stable, creating jobs in rural and Rust Belt America, and delivering value to utilities and major corporate customers,” he said in an address to the conference.

By state, Texas, the No. 1 oil producer in the United States, has the most installed wind power capacity on the grid and the most in the first quarter with 724 megawatts. In March, German energy company E.ON announced plans to build batteries in Texas that have the ability to store 20 megawatts of power from renewable energy resources. The company said wind farms are becoming more cost-competitive, with the budget for the Texas projects coming in below what similar projects cost in 2009.

The support does not extend to all shale-rich states in the south. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin ended a tax credit for the wind industry this year, saying the renewable sector was competitive enough to rest on its laurels. Wind advocates in the state said a tax on future developments would get in the way of further advancements.

Speaking at the California wind conference, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said wind energy could spur economic development in her state.

“Our energy plan will help us continue to lead the way in wind energy and renewable fuels,” she said.

By the AWEA’s metrics, the $25 million per year in land lease payments for wind developments in Iowa makes it the equivalent of a “drought-resistant cash crop.”

Wind energy to power Unilever sites in UK

Unilever has announced that 15 of its U.K. sites are using electricity derived from renewable wind sources.

In an announcement on Tuesday, the consumer goods company said that since April, Unilever U.K. had been the “dedicated beneficiary” of energy produced at a 23-turbine strong wind f arm owned by renewable energy business Eneco U.K.  #windenergy  #energy

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How Do Wind Turbines Work?

One of the fastest-growing sources of energy in the world, wind turbines generate electricity without emitting greenhouse gases into the environment (unlike fossil fuels). These modern-day windmills convert mechanical energy from the wind into electrical power.

Most wind turbines have three main parts: the tower (the long stem that connects to the ground); the blades, which connect to a central hub (the rotor); and the nacelle (a box behind the blades that contains the generator).

While there are several different designs for wind turbines — one of which, the “vertical-axis design,” resembles a giant eggbeater — most of these machines have a “horizontal-axis design,” in which the axis of the blades is horizontal to the ground.

Like a giant pinwheel, the rotor of a wind turbine will spin when triggered by a strong-enough wind. The rotor is attached to a drive shaft, which leads into the nacelle behind the blades and activates a generator. The generator creates electricity, which goes to a transformer that converts it to the right voltage for the electricity grid.

The wind turbines used by utility companies to provide power to a grid are usually placed in groups or rows, called “wind farms,” to take full advantage of windy areas.

 

Author Bio

 Elizabeth Palermo
Elizabeth Palermo
Science who writes about science and technology. She graduated with a B.A. from the George Washington University. Elizabeth has traveled throughout the Americas, studying political systems and indigenous cultures and teaching English to students of all ages.

 

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