Much of the discussion of renewable energy sounds great, but what are the practical numbers? Well, wind power started to show tangible results in 2006 in the US.
Wind power is simply the harvesting of the wind currents to create energy for our electrical needs. Wind power is really a form of solar energy. Wind is created by the sun heating up surfaces on the earth at different rates. The hot air rises and cool air rushes in to fill the gap, thus creating win.
In 2006, the use of wind power as an energy platform grew by over 25 percent in the United States. The total megawatts now produced by wind power equate to more than 11,000. One megawatt of energy production can handle the electrical needs of approximately 275 homes, depending on the energy needs of the specific residences.
Wind power now provides the energy needs of approximately 3 million homes in the country. In replacing fossil fuel energy systems, this output eliminates approximately 23 million tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise be produced to generate electricity with fossil fuel platforms. Carbon dioxide is the most serious greenhouse gas.
Texas led the way with new wind power platforms. In fact, it passed California as the state with the most energy being produced by wind power. This turn of events is primarily a result of Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center going online. It is a 735 megawatt wind farm. Texas was not the only state making moves in the field of wind energy generation. Iowa, Pennsylvania and Minnesota also brought wind farms on line.
2006 is shaping up as another banner year for wind power. Growth is expected to match 2006. Much of the growth will be found in California. Having lost their lead in wind power production, the state is making a major push on new platforms. The Tehachapi Wind farm is expected to start selling massive amounts of energy to the utility powering Los Angeles.
When it comes to getting off fossil fuels, many of the solutions offer seem to have a pie in the sky feel to them. Wind power, however, is proving to be a practical, functioning solution. As the years pass, it will continue to grow and replace harmful fossil fuel energy platforms.
Rick Chapo is with SolarCompanies.com - a directory of solar energy companies.