1. Massive Potential
2010 numbers shows that the total installed capacity of wind power is 430 TWh annually, equivalent to about 2.5% of the entire World’s consumption of electricity. While these are impressive numbers by themselves, they are nothing compared to the true potential of wind power.
There have been several different scientists trying to calculate how big this potential really is:
- Axel Kleidon of the Max Planck Institute, started by looking at the incoming solar energy. His research concluded that somewhere between 18 and 68 TW could be harnessed.
- Cristina Archer and Mark Jacobsen claims that somewhere between 72 and 68 TW can be harnessed cost-competitively. They have based their calculations on real measurements.
This sounds like a lot, but what do actually these numbers mean?
- There is no doubt that we can cover the energy needs of the Earth many times over with harnessing wind energy.
- National Academies of Science (NAS) has calculated that there is 23 times the current electricity consumption of potential of wind power, in the United States.
Future predictions of wind power look promising:
- Global Industry Analyst, Inc. (GIA), predicts 1 062 GW of wind power to be installed within 2017, which will result in almost 8% of the entire world’s electricity consumption
2. Wind Energy Originates from the Sun
Many people are not aware of that it is actually the sun, which is the source behind the wind on Earth.
Wind is moving air and forms when the sun warms different parts of our planet unevenly, which causes temperature and pressure differences. A good example is when the sun warms the ground, causing the air just above it to start rising and cool air flows down to replace it.
In short, solar energy causes temperature differences in the atmosphere. Wind is the movement of air that occurs to counteract these differences.
3. Fast Growing
Wind power is one of the fastest growing industries in the world, and we don’t expect the development to stop anytime soon:
- Current installed worldwide capacity has been reported to be 238 GW (late 2011).
- During the last 5 years, the average annual capacity-growth has been 27.6 %.
- Wind power is expected supply the world with 8% of the entire electricity consumption by 2018.
4. Is Wind Power Green?
Harnessing wind energy through the use of wind turbines is certainly much greener than conventional alternatives such as fossil fuels, nuclear power and coal. On the other hand, we shouldn’t overlook construction and manufacturing – and to keep improving them.
5. Generate and Sell Your Own Electricity
In many areas around the world, the utility power company might be able to offer you money in return for the surplus electricity you have generated with your own domestic wind turbines. This is very similar to how selling electricity back to the grid through net meters and PV systems (solar panels) work.