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Wind farms are a great way of collecting an existing resource, the wind, and harnessing it to give us energy. Using wind turbines is resourceful and relatively inexpensive. Wind farms are estimating being able to supply just over 1% of the U.S. electricity supply in 2008 – which would power over 4.5 million homes.
However, per this report from the American Wind Energy Association on Wind Energy Resource Potential, the total amount of electricity that could be generated from wind in the U.S. is more than twice the electricity it is generating today. So, why isn’t more being done to utilize this resource?
Recently I drove past the wind farms out near Palm Springs, CA and noticed that only about 50% of the turbines were even moving. The others weren’t moving at all (as they were at a different angle) or appeared to be damaged. And there was definitely wind blowing through that corridor, as anyone who has ever driven out the I-10 to the Palm Desert area knows, winds out there can get pretty strong.
Now, I would assume the turbines could be angled according to the wind direction, but if so, why weren’t they? That one action alone could double the amount of wind energy being generated from those wind farms.
According to this article, the United States become the world’s largest wind power producer in 2008 by having better average winds over its wind farms, thus creating a higher average capacity.
That being the case, think of how much more energy would be produced if all the turbines in the wind farms I passed were capturing the wind. I say, turn those turbines and let the winds blow!