Wind Energy Overview
Wind is one of the cleanest and most environmentally neutral sources of energy in the world today. Using wind power on a large scale means that less fossil fuel is used for electricity generation. This creates a cleaner environment and provides a renewable source of electricity. Wind offers many benefits to our health and ecosystem. According to the Department of Energy, generating 20 percent of electricity from the wind would save nearly 500 billion gallons of water each year (used in the process of generating electricity from other resources such as coal). Also, unlike fossil fuels, wind poses no threat of contamination to our water resources through its electricity production and transmission.
Wind turbines, when properly sited, need not pose a threat to avian wildlife. Less than one bird fatality per 10,000 can be attributed to wind turbines, while over half of bird deaths are caused by buildings and windows. Cats and other predators are responsible for a far greater number of bird deaths than that of wind turbines.
Wind power generates electricity without emitting harmful gases that cause global warming. Generating 20 percent of the nation’s electricity with wind energy would reduce carbon dioxide by 825 million metric tons, the equivalent of taking 140 million vehicles off the road (www.awea.org). Naturally more wind power will result in cleaner air, since no pollutants are emitted that cause smog, acid rain or are carcinogenic. According to the American Lung Association, half of all Americans live in areas where unhealthy levels of smog place them at risk for decreased lung function and respiratory illness. It is these issues that have rallied much support for wind power among the American people.
The use of wind power in the United States has expanded quickly in the past several years. Construction of new wind power generation capacity in the first quarter of 2012 totaled 1695 megawatts (MW) bringing the cumulative installed capacity to 48,611 MW. This capacity is exceeded only by China. In February 2012 the electricity produced from wind power in the US amounted to 11 terawatt-hours (TW•h) or 3.6% of all electric power.
1.^ "AWEA 1st quarter 2012 Public Market Report". American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). May 2012. http://www.awea.org/learnabout/publications/reports/upload/AWEA_First_Quarter_2012_Market_Report_Public.pdf. Retrieved May 24, 2012.
2.^ "World Wind Energy Report 2010" (PDF). Report. World Wind Energy Association. February 2011. http://www.wwindea.org/home/images/stories/pdfs/worldwindenergyreport2010_s.pdf.
3.^ "Electric Power Monthly data for December 2011" (PDF). Report. U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration. 29 February 2012. http://www.eia.gov/electricity/monthly/pdf/epm.pdf
In December of 2005, after several years of collecting wind data, community education, avian impact studies and permitting, the Jersey-Atlantic Wind Farm at the Atlantic County Utilities Authority (ACUA) Wastewater Treatment Plant in Atlantic City, N.J. was completed, making it the first wind farm in New Jersey. This may be the most visible wind energy project in North America, with about 34 million visitors driving past it as they enter the city each year. As an eastern, urban, coastal, industrial, onshore, multi-turbine wind farm, it is one that is unique to the world.
For information on Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm Production, click here.
For information on how wind turbines work click here.
For a list of small wind turbine manufacturers click here.
For information on New Jersey incentives and policies, click here.
For information on the Jersey Atlantic Wind Farm, click here.