- June 25-29 JMU Wind Energy Content Teaching Academy
- June 18-19 – Small Wind Installers Conference
- June 15 – Renewable Fuels Showcase, JMU
- June 8- WVPT Children's Book Festival
- May 9 - WPA All-States Summit, Chicago
- May 5-8 – AWEA WindPower 2013, Chicago
Wind News in the Region
- James Madison University Selected to Compete in Inaugural DOE National Collegiate Wind Competition
- Middle School Students Compete in 2nd Annual PA KidWind Challenge
- Milestone Cleared for Wind Energy Research Lease Offshore Virginia
- Wind Application Center Valuable Resource for Wind for Schools Partners
- US DOE Wind Program Initiates Inaugural National Collegiate Wind Competition
- Wind for Schools: 124 Installations and Counting
Frequently Asked Questions
Below are answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about wind energy.
How popular is wind energy?
From recent surveys conducted by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) 89% of American voters believe that increasing the amount of wind energy in the U.S. is a good idea. More people are in favor of wind power because it’s a clean form of renewable energy that provides a steady source of income from home-grown energy. Wind energy also drives economic development and protects small business and family budgets from volatile price spikes.
Can wind power help reduce climate change?
Yes! Electricity production from wind power emits no carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas contributing to global warming and climate change. Experts say in order to avoid dangerous levels of warming we must reduce our amount of CO2 emissions by 80-90% within the year 2050. Because wind power is the least expensive, most developed, and easiest to build renewable energy it is positioned to quickly deliver the reductions needed in CO2 emissions. Through 2008, installed wind capacity could displace approximately 44 million tons of carbon dioxide annually.
How much wind energy is used in the U.S. today?
The United States’ wind industry grew by 15% in 2010, and entered 2011 with over 5,600 megawatts (MW) under construction. The U.S. has 41,400 MW of installed wind power, which is enough to power 10 million U.S. households.
I heard wind energy is more expensive than conventional energy, is this true?
Yes and no. The inconsistency in wind speeds may cause minor fluctuations in operating costs in utility sized systems. But even with the variability in the wind speeds the price is still very competitive with other energy sources like natural gas. In a 2001 study in Colorado wind energy was determined to provide the lowest cost of any new generation resource, and avoided the risk of increased fuel prices. In another recent study in New York it was determined that a 10% increase of wind generation actually projected a reduction in payments by electricity customers of $305 million in one year.
How noisy are wind turbines?
Wind turbines are extremely quiet. Usually any sound that a turbine would make is masked by the sound of the blowing wind. Wind turbines fall in the range of 35 – 45 decibels (dB). If you aren’t familiar with decibels here are a few examples:
Even if you can hear a turbine rotating in the wind, your health is not at risk. A scientific advisory panel has conducted studies and concluded that there are no health concerns with the sounds produced by turbines. Only personal opinions and noise preferences can be affected.
Do wind turbines have any effect on health?
Health concerns raised about wind turbines include:
Sound: As stated in the question above, wind turbines are quiet. Noise impacts are regulated at the local level by municipalities and turbines are usually placed at a reasonable distance from residences.
Visual: The rotating blades on turbines can cause a moving shadow, called “shadow flicker.” This is easily fixed with the current placement of the turbine tower.
The U.S. has thousands of wind turbines installed and there is no credible scientific evidence of any diseases or syndromes caused by wind turbines. Read peer-reviewed publications about health effects from wind turbines.
Don’t wind turbines harm birds and bats?
Yes, any tall structure is going to affect the life of birds and bats. Turbines are low on the list of threats to these animals, in fact, for every 10,000 birds killed by human activities, less than 1 is killed by a wind turbine. House cats, hunters, and windows/buildings each kill about 100 million birds a year. With every turbine that is installed, a 1 or 2-year pre-construction survey is conducted for the wildlife of the area, that helps determine the feasibility of installing a wind turbine. Once turbines are construction, companies are researching ways to mitigate their impact to the surrounding wildlife. Many companies work with the United States Fish and Wildlife Service on their projects. To learn more about wind turbines and its effects on bats and birds, read the National Wind Coordinating Collaborative’s 2010 study on the issue.