I’m a big fan of wind power. I drive east on I-90 every few months, and there are three or four small wind farms between here and Blue Earth, Minnesota. I love the look of those big white windmills, spinning on the prairie.
There was an article in the local paper today about the “Frontier Line,” an agreement between four states to create a power transmission line from Wyoming to California. This goal is to get power generated in the Midwest — a large portion of it from wind — out to California, where it’s needed the most.
Here’s an article:
According to Reuters, the goal of the $20-million initiative is to deliver 12,000 megawatts of power to the Western electric grid via wind power facilities and integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) “clean-coal” plants.
Hope this will spur on the development of wind power. Twelve thousands megawatts is a bit above your standard AA battery. For comparison, according to this Wikipedia article, nuclear reactors coming online these days generate about 1,200 megawatts — do the math.
I looked very hard to find out how much power a city used, and I found this article that stated New York City’s estimated power consumption in 2004 was 12,600 megawatts. (Does anyone have better figures than this? I’m interested.)
This could be big for my home state — according to the article in the paper, here are top five states in terms of wind energy potential.
- North Dakota
- South Dakota (my state)
- Wyoming and Montana (tie)
Without a doubt, there’s a lot of wind out here.
However, one of the big trends in wind energy is to put the windmills out in the water, where there are no obstructions to interrupt the wind. Cape Wind is an attempt to build a 130-turbine farm five miles off the shore of Cape Cod. It’s estimated to have a peak output of 420 megawatts, which would supposedly power the Cape (but with wind, how often are you at peak output?). Sadly, Cape Wind has run into much community opposition, since folks out there pay a lot of money for the view.
Not surprsingly, Wikipedia had some great resources on wind power and wind farms:
- Wind Farm
- Wind Power
- List of Wind Farms in Canada (they’re getting 444 megawatts from all of them combined)
- Wind Generator
- Te Apiti Wind Farm, in New Zealand — my home country; 90 megawatts
- Scroby Sands Wind Farm, in the North Sea, off the coast of England; 60 megawatts
Some day, I’m going to move to the country and put up my own windmill to power my house, then go off the grid. This one will give me 12,000 watts.
My wife will be just thrilled with 23-foot diameter blades spinning above the house. Let it blow.