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How Many Megawatts of Wind Power Does Each American Need?

Wind power now supplies more than 4% of the country’s electricity. At about 60,000 megawatts, there’s enough wind energy capacity to power 15.2 million U.S. homes, a more than twenty-fold increase since 2000.

It’s still tiny compared to fossil fuel: Combined, coal and natural gas supply roughly two-thirds of U.S. electricity.

But after writing about wind subsidies over the weekend, I thought I’d better explain what a megawatt of wind energy actually produces.

Here’s a simple infographic that breaks it down…

Megawatts measure how many thousands of kilowatts of power are generated by the energy obtained.

According to this graphic, a single one-megawatt turbine generates enough energy to power 250 homes.

Texas, the top wind producer in the United States, has 7,690 wind turbines – making it a major contributor to the country’s total wind energy production.

The Global Wind Energy Council’s (GWEC) market forecast projects substantial global growth – from approximately 300 gigawatts (GW) to almost 600 GW between now and 2017.

While the leaps and bounds the wind energy sector has made over the last decade have been impressive, I agree with Karim Rahemtulla. I don’t think wind has found its wings as a source for serious investment yet.

Just like I mentioned yesterday, the possible removal of energy subsidies makes the wind sector, however robust in comparison to its beginnings, vulnerable to collapse.

The science and possibility of harnessing power created by the sun and blown in by the wind are impressive. But until there are less-costly, more-efficient practical applications, investing in alternative energy can wait.

And “the chase” continues,

Burns Foster