We’ve seen some important legislative developments in Virginia that are paving the way for improved access to solar energy. That said, there is still tremendous room for improvement in the realm of developing alternative energy sources. In particular, wind energy has seen little to no support in Virginia. Much of that is due to a lack of understanding of wind energy and its potential benefits.
Harnessing wind energy is as simple as using turbines to capture the kinetic energy that flows from wind and turning it into mechanical energy using a generator. When we think of wind energy, we generally envision a wind farm, which is a plot of land that houses a number of large turbines in a windy area. However, this process can take many forms. There are now wind projects as small as 400 watts up to 100 kilowatts that can be housed in residential areas! To put this in prospective, an average home would need a turbine rated between 5 and 15 kilowatts to cover a significant portion of household demand.
According to the American Wind Energy Association, some of the benefits of wind energy include:
- In 2016, the wind industry supported over 100,000 American jobs – and this is in spite of how severely underdeveloped this industry is.
- Wind installments require investment into the project and into the surrounding community. The last decade has seen about $14 billion of investment. These projects are often located in rural areas, which can benefit greatly from the improved infrastructure and source of employment.
- Farmers and ranchers can invest in wind farms to help offset costs at times when growing conditions are poor.
- Adding wind energy to a utility’s energy mix can help keep rates low for consumers.
The average price of wind power has declined significantly in recent years, making it more and more valuable to consumers and utilities alike. Many European countries are investing heavily in wind energy technologies. Texas currently receives about 12% of its energy from wind. West Virginia has also begun investing in wind and now generates almost 2% of its energy from wind. Virginia has fallen far behind in the effort to encourage the growth of this potentially enormous industry and is often not even ranked in the compilation of wind data.
Powered by Facts believes that wind is complementary to solar energy, and we will be working to educate Virginians about the value of wind and paving the way for the growth of this beneficial resource.