10 Fascinating Facts About Wind Energy

When it comes to wind energy, there's a lot of hot air blowing around. Proponents and opponents alike are guilty of forming opinions without evidence, and energy analysis can often be more mystery than methodology. To help you weave your way through wind's worth, here are 10 fascinating facts about wind energy.

1. Wind energy is the fastest-growing source of electricity production in the world.

2. Of all new generating capacity installed between 2008 and 2012, 36.5% was wind.

3. NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE  ) , the nation's largest renewable-energy utility, relies on more than 10,000 net MW of wind across 100 farms for 57% of its total capacity.


Wind farms. Source: NextEra Energy. 

4. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates that there are 4,150,000 MW of wind turbine capacity blowing offshore the United States.

5. Wind turbines aren't without their mishaps. "Not in My Back Yard" opponents point to all sorts of operational issues, including collapses, fires, and even explosions. NextEra Energy (NYSE: NEE  ) is currently suing an environmental activist who created a parody of its logo, calling the utility "NexTerror" and "NextError" after she filmed workers removing a bald eagle nest to make way for wind turbines.

6. The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon is the largest wind farm in the U.S., clocking in at 846 MW. Caithness Energy completed construction in 2012, and 100% of the electricity heads to Edison International's (NYSE: EIX  ) Southern California Edison utility, providing enough electricity for 235,000 homes.

Shepherds Flat Wind Farm. Source:  

7. Some corporations are investing directly in wind. Google (NASDAQ: GOOGL  ) has a 37.5% stake in a 7,000 MW offshore Atlantic Ocean wind farm, while Wal-Mart uses wind power from Duke Energy's  (NYSE: DUK  )  1,000-plus MW of wind for 15% of the energy needs of 350 Texas stores.

8. Google recently acquired Makani Power, an energy start-up developing floating wind farms, able to capture high-altitude winds that churn out power for $0.03 per kilowatt hour.

9. General Electric (NYSE: GE  ) currently offers 11 different wind turbines for energy companies to choose from. Starting at 1.5 MW with 120-foot blades, GE's arsenal ups its way to a 4.1 MW offshore model with 185-foot blades.


Source: General Electric; 4.1 MW model. 

10. Over the next three years, wind power is expected to increase by a whopping 34%. Predictions were pushed 9 percentage points higher after Congress voted in January to extend wind's renewable-energy production tax credit.



Will wind win?
When it comes to wind, there's a lot that's still unknown. The future of wind will depend on the length of government tax credits, environmental regulation rigidity, the speed at which technology improves, and wind's relative competitiveness compared with other traditional and renewable fuels. These fascinating facts don't tell all, but they provide evidence of an energy source well worth watching.

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  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 2:20 PM, MotleyFoolStinks wrote:

    motley fool full onboard with obama now

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 2:41 PM, sdchanman wrote:

    Unemployment Rate Unchanged In June, Long-Term Joblessness Still Terrible

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 2:55 PM, nighthawkinsd wrote:

    Fascinating fact #11....Wind generators are designed to shut down when temperatures get to about -15 degrees as the engineers fear cold stress doing damage to the generators. This ensures that during the coldest times of the winter when demand for electricty will be at it's highest that wind energy will contribute NOTHING to keeping you or your house from freezing up. Doesn't seem real smart to invest to heavily in something that will abandon you right when you need it the most!

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 2:57 PM, rand49er wrote:

    11. Wind turbines kill thousands of birds each year including endangered species such as eagles.

    12. Wind energy will never provide enough energy to replacement fossil fuels even combined with solar energy sources.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 3:04 PM, tigerade wrote:

    11. Cats, buildings, and cars kill magnitudes more birds than wind turbines.

    12. Wind turbines have been around long before Obama

    13. Wind power will overcome the FUD (Fear, Uncertainty, Doubt) propaganda from the right-wing.

    14. Energy storage can be used to offset problems with wind intermittency, which is a challenge, but not an impossibility that the right-wing alleges it to be

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 3:10 PM, imrichbiatch wrote:

    11. Wind energy is extraordinarily expensive.

    12. Wind energy is highly inefficient.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 3:30 PM, shyhalu wrote:

    The video is question is HEAVILY moderated and requires comment approval.

    This speaks volumes about the integrity of the person being sued. This is a common tactic used by creationists trying to push flat earth or false anti science rhetoric. They heavily moderate their channels to stifle disagreement.

    The pictures linked in her video show the company going through a great effort to carefully move the nests. If they had any intention of destroying the nests they would not spend so much time and money using heavy equipment and taking careful measurements to move entire branches of trees.

    I hope the she gets every penny sued out of her. I am ALL FOR protecting wildlife, but to lie and slander a company MOVING bald eagle nests to help reduce the chances they die from the turbines is utterly and disgustingly intellectually dishonest.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 3:33 PM, shyhalu wrote:

    11. Wind turbines kill thousands of birds each year including endangered species such as eagles.

    11a. Cars kill thousand of squirrels, deer, people, etc every year. Lets remove them too?

    12. Wind energy will never provide enough energy to replacement fossil fuels even combined with solar energy sources.

    12a. Does not matter, so long as we alleviate the pressure on fossil fuels its a good investment.

    12b. Also not true, solar power is VERY portable. you can stick a panel on every single light pole in developed areas and make a huge dent in the energy required from the grid. Top it off with solar plants and solar roofs and its very possible to be off fossil fuels.

    Try doing research before you attack solar power. Because as of now? Science, physics, and the free market disagree with you.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 3:52 PM, raggz wrote:

    Why not talk about how the government ( we taxpayers) provide most of the funding for wind farms, only to turn over control (profits) to energy companies? Also, wind farms save us literally nothing, as traditional coal electric plants need to run continuously, whether or not wind farms are providing electricity. Additionally, since electricity (from wind farms) cant be stored, what isnt used is sold (by energy companies) overseas. How is this a benefit to Americans? Its not! What it is, is a scam perpetrated by energy tycoons to further rip off we taxpayers!

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 3:57 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    Argh! The graph is so off. Renewables are growing far more rapidly than they project. It is produced from data by the EIA and despite the exponential growth of solar and wind and the collapse of prices for solar they still paint a picture of a pathetically slow growth rate. Here is what things are looking like in the solar industry - Figure 2.8 on this link is interesting. It has both historical and projected information. The solar industry can generally project a few years out quite well as the planning an permitting cycle is that long. The industry has generally done a good job with its projections, EIA has consistently done a horrible job - and here is more -

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 4:05 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    Here is a nice link that looks at how renewables can play a much larger role in the electricity mix. One poster made an important point about renewables and intermittency. One way to substantially reduce the impact of intermittency is to do grid upgrades many of which are needed anyway. As more geographically dispersed renewable energy is interconnected, there is less intermittency since often when the wind is not blowing one place it is in another.

    At current level of penetration - and there is still headroom here - solar is beneficial to the grid operators because it typically peaks at the same time AC loads peak. That means it provides the grid support that is so desparately needed by the grid operators, thereby complementing rather than undermining the baseload plants. The above blog has good info backed up by source material much of which is lay friendly.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 4:09 PM, 2smartforlibs wrote:

    How much tax money have US companies bilked the public out of. Its the fastest growing for a reason GE John Deere are all cashing in. If this was really such a great thing the market would be demanding it. Instead we have a lap dog media telling us we must have this no matter what. Time to wake the hell up people

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 4:13 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    @raggz - Interesting claims you are making, can you provide some links to back up your position. Also, I have heard that the fossil fuel industry gets a lot of direct and indirect support. Do you think that is a good way to go since they are established and lower risk or do you favor removing supports to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries. Here are a couple of posts that I found that do a nice job of surfacing some of the ways that fossil fuels get somewhat of a free ride. I wonder what your thoughts on this are? and here is another

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 4:24 PM, Petronilus wrote:

    That silly case in Canada about an "environmental activist" trying to make a point about some eagle being removed due to a windmill being build must be out of her mind. Every year 100s of 1000s of people die because of pollution from fossil fuels on this planet. Fossil-fueled facilities are 17 times more dangerous to birds on a per GWh basis than wind power. And the effect of the greenhouse effect will hurt millions of lives in the future.

    It's a shame that some eagle nest was removed, but it's a tiny tiny issue. That Youtube video is a ridiculous distraction from the real problem!

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 4:25 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    @2smartforlibs - Do you feel equally frustrated with the benefits that Exxon and other fossil fuel companies receive from the federal government or is that OK with you? And how do you feel about the more conservative leaning media. Do they get a pass or are you equally critical of them when they get it wrong. Or as they did in this segment get it so laughably wrong I would have hurt myself laughing if I didn't know that some were so uninformed that they would actually believe it - - I mean really, Germany more sun than the US! Really!? - So many point to Solyndra as proof that the federal government will screw everything up. Does that mean that Enron and AIG prove that private industry screw everything up? It is interesting that I have never seen anyone critical of the federal government comment on First Solar, which received a good deal of federal support and now is the only high volume US solar company left that can compete with the Chinese solar companies. You know why? Because China made a strategic decision that they were going to dominate the solar industry, pumped capital in and now guess what? They do! And BTW, they got this from our play book. This is how all US infrastructure industries from banking to oil to auto became world dominant. The government got involved. Challenge you to find one that did not.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 5:13 PM, peterwolf wrote:

    They left out this 'fascinating' fact: It's a total money loser held aloft only with massive government subsidies. Even the German's are giving up on it. Spain and other broke countries did so long ago. Only the loons in California persist in believing ( and subsidizing) that wind power can carbon fuels.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 5:14 PM, rand49er wrote:

    True story: My cousin hosted our family reunion last summer. They built a very nice pavilion a few years back and subsequently mounted quite a few large solar panels on it. I tactfully asked her how much it all cost. She said, "$140,000." Then she added that was before the grants after which it cost only "$18,000." Those grants are tax money. Yes, we taxpayers are paying for all this so-called renewable energy. It can't be sustained. Of course, fossil fuels can't be sustained, either. That's why we need something else. The ONLY long-term solution isn't wind, solar, fission, or fossil ... it's fusion energy ... a virtually limitless energy source. It is the only source that will take us through the next ice age which is due any century now.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 6:06 PM, julio2 wrote:

    If wind is so wonderful let's stop giving the huge tax credits. My take is that no one would be doing a wind project if the tax credit of up to 40% was not there.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 6:53 PM, DannyBoy13 wrote:

    Wind turbines shut down when the wind does not blow hard enough, or when the wind blows too hard.

    Fossil fuel is the wind farm back up power source.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 9:25 PM, SRNoyes wrote:

    " This ensures that during the coldest times of the winter when demand for electricty will be at it's highest that wind energy will contribute NOTHING to keeping you or your house from freezing up"

    This is classic FUD built on a half truth. Truth: wind turbines shut down in extreme cold. Not Truth: Winter is the highest electricity usage months. The highest Winter usage comes in January and May, June, July and August all have higher electricity demands.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 9:59 PM, tigerade wrote:

    They built a very nice pavilion a few years back and subsequently mounted quite a few large solar panels on it. I tactfully asked her how much it all cost. She said, "$140,000." Then she added that was before the grants after which it cost only "$18,000."

    Bullsht. There is no way those are real numbers.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 10:23 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    Fusion is appealing but a long time off. Predictions are of first utility scale by 2050.

    Given the extraordinary price reductions in solar costs over the last few years and the steady decline in wind costs, it is unclear why we would bet the farm on Fusion. I would like to see ongoing research but 2050 is over 35 years from now. 35 years ago there was no utility scale wind or solar. Now look where they are. It is hard to imagine what the next 35 years will hold.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 10:31 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    Here is a link to cost reduction in solar and wind. - What is neat is that since these are manufactured products, their cost keeps dropping in a predictable manner. This is called a production learning curve and is used to extrapolate costs by industrial engineers all the time.

    Learning curve theory was first developed based upon observations in the aircraft industry but as it was studied it was found to apply to all manufactured products unless there cost is dominated by a commodity such as high content of gold.

    I am still not seeing links posted by people advocating fossil fuel or bashing renewables. One wonders how many of them are paid trolls.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 11:14 PM, deekaman wrote:

    The Motley Fools and their fellow travellers here do not understand the complexity of the national electric grid and how intermittent, uncontrollable sources like wind affect the stability. Storage of wind energy is in terribly inefficient DC battery banks that must use an inverter of sorts to put the energy to the grid. Rolling reserve, running inefficiently, must be available to offset variation in wind generation.

    It is "Foolish" at best to believe there is any significant benefit to wind power.

  • Report this Comment On July 07, 2013, at 11:31 PM, bugmenot wrote:

    Both Wind and Solar MUST be backed up by a fossil fuel plant running at 60% capacity in order to take over during a weather change! That is a scary number when ignorant politicians want to shutdown all coal plants. In many states, dependent on coal, massive power outages will be the norm. The Obama EPA could destroy the US Economy. Why did the author ignore this obvious problem? Ignorance, bias, or corruption?

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2013, at 4:46 AM, SecondWind54 wrote:

    All this is possible with the use of Reversible Cold Fusion (RCF) which can be used to store the energy from wind, solar and low grade thermal making Obama's plan work. President Obama will be the greatest energy president ever.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2013, at 2:17 PM, damilkman wrote:

    What I find interesting is the author speaks out about the maximum potential capacity of a wind farm. What is left unsaid is that most wind farms operate at a small fraction of capacity. Think your getting 100MW? Its more like 40. So if you really need 100MW you have to build 250MW of capacity.

    Also no one has figured out a real smart grid. The reality is the wind can stop even over very large regions. Either your eating up huge costs in resistance or having to spend huge costs on superconducting transmission that just is not viable now. Even in the north sea there are long periods of no wind. That is how they are able to assemble those turbines in the first place.

    Solar is a much better option because it decentrializes the problem. It still is not a final solution. If you were to combine solar with fuel cell you could use excess energy for example to break apart water into hydrogen/oxygen and recombine at night when the solar unit is off line. If each house has their own solar/fuel cell arrary you do not have to spend massive money on transmission costs. If there is a energy deficit a person could feed their fuel cell with natural gas. Not saying this is perfect as residential fuel cells are still pricey and you would have to figure out how to run one on different fuels on the fly. But a far better solution then wind.

    Lastly we could look at those incompetent French who have the smallest carbon footprint in the world. If the French can generate 80% of their electricity needs without generating a glowing countryside, how come we cannot? The Germans usually clean Frances clock. In this case I would say the French chose more wisely.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2013, at 5:43 PM, Mathman6577 wrote:

    The reason wind is on the rise is that the left wing is suppressing other forms of power, not because it has an advantage.

  • Report this Comment On July 08, 2013, at 5:58 PM, OneHundredxFifty wrote:

    @damilkman - Of course no major change to the electrical grid is going to happen overnight or without considerable costs. However there are compelling studies suggesting that a grid composed of primarily renewables is very doable. This link directs you to an NREL study where they did some great graphics (see thumbnails on the right) that show where all of the power is coming from. They did detailed modeling of wind and solar as it is geographically distributed. They also made assumptions about storage. These scenarios were developed with technology currently available and they left out Electric Vehicles as a potential storage source. Now consider this, their study goes through 2050 which is over 35 years from now. 35 years ago there was not grid connected solar and about 10MW per year were manufactured, mostly for calculators and watches. Similarly, no utility scale wind turbines. Today we are deploying 10's of GW (nameplate) of each. It is hard to grasp exponential growth trends, but I think it is a pretty safe bet that we will be at 90% renewables well before 2050.

    As for your comments, here are a few thoughts -

    - Smart grid is a relatively new concept (with the mainstream thinkers). It is developing rapidly and will continue to do so in a way that favors distributed generation.

    - You are right about capacity factor and wind. Though in good resource areas such as the ocean and Great Plains we are getting closer to 50%. And, if you look at the NREL link you will see that large scale, wide geographic deployment of wind and it is never off.

    - Intra-continential High Voltage DC ~1 Million Volts is being done now and that gets you across the country with manageable losses - remember, most of the time it is not necessary to travel that far.

    - If we put the money into it, High temp super conductors can be used for Intra-continental power transmission. It will require proactive R&D support by the government. And not to worry, if the flat earth, anti-science idiots in congress don't fund it, the Chinese will and they will just take another industry from us like candy from a baby.

    I am not a big fan of fuel cells, I think that they are costly and I am not thrilled about lots of hydrogen everywhere. My bias but the battery road map suggests that much higher capacity batteries that can cycle more are not too far off.

  • Report this Comment On July 12, 2013, at 6:01 PM, smpots wrote:

    I saw 'wind empowered electric generation,' and mybfurstvreaction was 'inefficiency.' I read arguments supporting additional alternative sources and my reaction is,"Pievin the Sky.' Fision was the solution, fusion was the solution, solar as the solution; yet none of them are functioning solutions. Cold Fusion sounds like an oxymoron similar to government efficiency.

    Sure, I, 'didthe pie in the sky thing for years,'and even co-authored a process patent with BP on every continent(except Antarctica of course). However, this photovoltaic device is not used despite its consistent efficiency. However, devices that work great in theory, fail to equal proficiency 'in real life.'

  • Report this Comment On July 12, 2013, at 6:03 PM, damilkman wrote:

    The study on smart grid is based on theoretical modeling. The reality is when we look at attempts at smart grid today, they fall apart because ultimately the wind will stop blowing even over very large regions. Modeling is unforutnately modeling and may not reflect reality. I do not see how wind can ever be a real solution if it fails one of the basic requirements of power generation, which is consistency. How much excess capacity must you build if the boundry points of the sample sapce are unknown. We know from smart grid tests spanning Australia that the wind can stop or be feeble across the entire continent at the point in time.

    I also point out if you think building new transmission capacity is going to be easy, take a look at how far behind Germany is in their goals to connect North Sea wind to the indurstrial west and south. They are way behind because no one wants a transsmision line in their back yard. I have been investing in superconducting technology for decades. And I can tell you it is a long way away.

    And then we get to the crux. You point to a model that is far in the future. Instead of picking winners and losers, why not let the advances in technolgy determine the winner? Today were subsidizing the construction of unviable solar and wind technology that only exists due to massive subsidies. It functionally cannot replace the carbon generating plant because of its limitations. So all we have done is thrown money in a hole. If something comes along that can complete verses carbon, then we can talk about how great it is.

  • Report this Comment On July 12, 2013, at 6:20 PM, dennyinusa wrote:

    Tired of hearing about subsidies and downside to renewable, but people conveniently forget about the hand outs and short comings of other energy sources.

    Why must the American navy keep shipping lanes open and protect oil tankers and cargo ships from pirates. It is unbelievable these multinational companies have the gall to ask the American taxpayer by way of the high defense budgets to pay to protect their products from being hijacked on the trip back to USA. So add the cost of keeping military bases such as the 5th fleet in Bahrain and other countries where the people do not want us. To stay in these countries not only cost us billions of dollars, but ends up costing us our security because we have backed dictators for our gain but at the expense of the people of these countries. One needs only to look at what happened in Iran in 1953. People need to understand that in 1953 the CIA & M6 interfered with Iran’s leadership. If you want to read what happened search Operation TPAJAX.

    We need to remove our troops. Let the oil companies pay to keep the shipping lanes open. That way people will find out what the true cost of a barrel of oil actually costs. Many other countries also need this oil, again why are they not at least paying the USA to keep shipping lanes open This is just another handout to the oil and gas companies. If you add military costs, cleanup cost and environment damage to the cost of nuclear, oil, gas and coal, people would understand the least expensive energies are renewable

    It is time to change.

    It will be a great day for the planet and all who inhabit it, when the dinosaurs that push and make outrageous profits from Coal, Oil and Nuclear become extinct. Consider the cost of the military, the Coastguard overseeing cleanups, the groups that study areas after spills, the environmental damage and the costs to fisherman and others as hidden subsidies. These costs should all be in the price at pump so the true cost is seen. If we drill at home, these costs are still there. There was a time when people hunted whales for their oil. Like it or not times change. Time and money would be better spent switching to renewable energies. Even if you do not believe in global warming, doesn't it make sense to use items that will not pollute the oceans, rivers, lakes, land and air? We know our ways of producing energy with fossil fuels and nuclear have negative impacts on water, air, land, fish and wild life. We didn’t realize this when we started but now that we know it would be irresponsible to keep doing things that we know have a negative impact. I understand we cannot change overnight but we should be replacing old facilities with renewable sources be it solar, wind, geothermal or some other undiscovered source that will come along. We are a very creative species we just have to decide to do it.

  • Report this Comment On July 12, 2013, at 9:51 PM, EBerg13 wrote:

    Did anyone else watch the PBS special "The Men Who Built America"? Dam the Niagara river, decide on AC vs DC current, string lines ... all for something the American public had never tried until men with vision came along and just did it. We need that vision now ... our world demands it!

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2013, at 10:05 AM, ratfink5 wrote:

    Wind energy is nothing without tax credits. Having worked on them for 2.5 years i can speak from experience. They generate at full power only 30% of the time usually spring or fall when winds are the strongest.The other 70% or some part of it instead of being an energy producer they become a consumer they need to keep the blades turning at 1.5 rpm so as not to take out the bearings that hold hub and blades on about 35 tons. Therefore they spend more time using energy than producing it. Make sense to anyone!!

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2013, at 10:48 AM, SherifX wrote:

    The 2 most common forms of renewable energies in our world is wind and solar. Generating power from a wind turbine is easier than from a Photovoltaic, or PV cell, the key element that turns sun into electric current.

    Problem with wind turbines however is that there has to be enough wind to justify its high start-up costs. I am surprised there are many wind farms around the windy city!

    On the other hand, solar energy generation will work best around southern California, Nevada, and Arizona. Another point to the favor of PV cells, they are far cheaper than wind turbines, so cheap that they can be used on an ‘individual’ level.

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2013, at 11:56 AM, SecondWind54 wrote:

    President Obama is just such a "man with vision", as coal and other carbon producers are phased out, he has something coming to replace it which for the first time in history will reverse the climate trend. Other countries will follow the USA this is less expensive power.

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2013, at 1:23 PM, MattBurns25 wrote:

    According to the U.N.:

    Renewable Energy Could Power 80% of the World by 2050

  • Report this Comment On July 13, 2013, at 4:18 PM, TnFlash2u wrote:

    Obviously we will have to wean ourselves off fossil fuels because the population of the world is growing and demanding more energy which will only produce more and more pollution. Nuclear is a stop gap until we make it legal to recycle our spent fuel rods. Solar is the only clean energy source which takes us directly to using energy from the sun without the intermediate steps of using coal, or tapping the wind, but it needs energy storage to be truly effective. This is being developed but progress is slow. Mean while as the coal and oil industries get phased out, be prepared for their dying gasps for survival in the forms of their making false claims, bribing politicians and telling out right lies to confuse the uneducated. It will become rampant. Look at the cigarette industry for an example.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2013, at 10:22 AM, damilkman wrote:

    Imagine if hundreds of billions of dollars is spent subsidizing inefficient wind & solar technology and someone figures out fusion.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 12:05 PM, cmalek wrote:

    " The Shepherds Flat Wind Farm in Oregon is the largest wind farm in the U.S., clocking in at 846 MW."

    Indian Point Nuclear Plant in Westchester County, NY generates 2,500 MW. The governor and the eco-nazis want to replace it with wind power. We would need 3 of Sheperds Flat wind farms to match the generating capacity of the nuke. In a county with 1/4 acre zoning that ain't about to happen.

    Wind generation has to improve its efficiency by AT LEAST 2 orders of magnitude before it becomes commercially viable. Until then it is a play toy of the rich and famous such as Ed Begley Jr. and Bill Nye The Science Guy.

    While we are discussing economic and commercial viability, all forms of renewable energy generation are to inefficient to succeed without heavy government (read taxpayer) support.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2013, at 3:53 PM, F4Fjockky wrote:

    Why not let China take over the development of solar panels, they're going to be the source of manufacturing them anyway. That way we can quickly learn the true cost of a panel w/o subsidities or research. Think that's unAmerican? We let France build the most efficient (and cleanist) national power system in the world while we wrung or hands trying to answer "what ifs" and now clean electricity is their major export. I doubt that they are worried about the need for wind or sun power. France also recycles its spent nuclear fuel assemblies, leaving very little radiocative waste to deal with. The US nuclear system is the equivalent to hauling 20 carloads of coal to a generating plant, burning one carload for power and dumping the other 19 into another hole in the ground. That should be a no-brainer to fix.

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