Harnessing wind power as an energy source continues to make news headlines. Over the years, wind power has been one of the fastest-growing sources of energy all over the world. Wind energy is popular for its potential to generate a clean and abundant source of electricity.
The United States passed Germany to become the country producing the most wind power, the Department of Energy has estimated that wind power could account for 20 percent of the nation’s electricity supply by 2030. Assisted by technological innovation and years of government subsidies, the cost of wind power fell sharply, bringing it closer to the cost of electricity from conventional fuels.
But in 2011 and 2012, American wind companies have experienced weak demand for electricity, stiff competition from cheap natural gas and even cheaper options from Asian competitors.
China has established a dominance in renewable energy, its wind turbine factories have been forcing many foreign rivals out of business and its policy makers hailed by environmentalists around the world as visionaries.
But now China’s strategy is in trouble. Though worldwide demand for wind turbines has grown rapidly over the last five years, China’s manufacturing capacity has continued to soar, creating oversupply and an international price war.
As a result, City Island Images decided to pay a visit to the Mid-America Windmill Museum in Kendallville Indiana, where there is a significant collection and displays dedicated to the story of wind-power.
Manager Sara Hudson points out that although wind power plants may have very little impact on the environment compared to fossil fuel power plants, there is concern over the noise produced by the rotor blades, as well as aesthetic visual impacts, and birds having been killed by flying into the rotors. Most of these problems have been resolved or greatly reduced through technological development or by properly siting wind plants.
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Photos: AJ Alamillo