Behold! A World Powered by Wind!

Very good news, if true & accurate:

Energy Dept: 20% Of US Energy From Wind By 2030 Feasible
NEW YORK -(Dow Jones)- In a new report, the U.S. Department of Energy said that generating 20% of U.S. energy needs from wind by 2030 is technically feasible, but would require $197 billion in investments, especially in interstate transmission build-out.

Arguments against wind power as an unreliable and marginal source of power are “frivolous and uninformed,” said Andy Karsner, DOE assistant secretary for energy efficiency and renewable energy, while presenting the report at a press conference. Preliminary findings from the report were previously available, but the DOE made the final results public Monday.

(This story also appeared in Clean Technology Investor, a daily newsletter published by Dow Jones & Co.)

The expenditure needed to reach the 20% goal would only be $43 billion, or 2%, higher than if the U.S. didn’t add any wind whatsoever and reached the same power capacity from other sources, the DOE and its industry collaborators said in the report. They estimated that the additional spending would translate into 50 cents per month on the average customer’s utility bill. Adding that much wind to the grid would also cause natural gas prices to decrease, the report said.

The true benefits of such a program are described by Bjorn Lomborg in Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming (which itself is featured in the bibliography for Tom Barnett’s newest, Great Powers). Lomborg subjects climate change to the same analysis as any other social problem, and comes up with one critical tool for fighting it: research and development. Most carbon taxes would be wasteful, many cap-and-trade systems are foolished, but making new technologies economically affordable has real pay-offs.

Generating 20% of our nation’s energy by 2030 would not only limit the increase in the amount of energy we “rent” from countries like Saudi Arabia and Russia: it would create economies of scale that make renewable energy more affordable for anyone.

20-in-30? Let’s do it.

4 thoughts on “Behold! A World Powered by Wind!”

  1. Can we get serious about the problem and just build more nuclear? This is just silliness. You think the NIMBY’s were bad about building power plants, you ain’t heard nothing yet. Nobody wants fields and fields of wind turbines plants. It will never happen.

  2. Joel,

    Nuclear’s obviously a big part of the solution, but be careful about extrapolating the concerns from one part of the country to another. While South Dakotans might be as concerned about a nuclear power plant as anybody, I’m pretty sure there are 50+ counties there that would love the jobs (as well as rent and taxes) that would come from wind farms.

    This is a benefit of wind power, as its greatest scale comes from areas that are not industrialized and are used to extracting wealth from land.

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