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Strong winds on the horizon: wind power comes of age

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3 Author(s)
Swisher, R. ; American Wind Energy Assoc., Washington, DC, USA ; De Azua, C.R. ; Clendenin, J.

Wind power has been the fastest growing energy technology in the world for the last decade, and US wind capacity is expected to increase by 50% by the end of 2001. The factors driving that growth are discussed. Small wind turbines, which have many applications ranging from off-grid to grid-connected to hybrid systems, are cost-competitive with diesel systems while offering substantial environmental advantages. The barriers to increased wind deployment are limited. Siting is not too difficult, particularly in the areas of the Great Plains where so much of the wind resource is to be found. Perhaps the most significant barrier is transmission simply because the wind resource is typically found at a distance from load centers. But states like Texas have helped facilitate wind development through policy decisions that ensure that the transmission system does not discriminate against wind because it is a variable resource. Perhaps the greatest current barrier facing wind energy technology is an information barrier: the fact that so many key decision makers-electric industry, financial community, and public policymakers-have not kept up with wind power's enormous progress over the last decade. But, as wind continues to double in global capacity every three years, that problem appears to be slowly fading. Clearly, wind energy's future is bright

Published in:

Proceedings of the IEEE  (Volume:89 ,  Issue: 12 )