By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now
Talk about wild weather. This spring we’ve seen Fargo battling flooding of historic proportions. Last week, brush fires ran wild in Texas and Oklahoma, and tornadoes blasted residences in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Tennessee and South Carolina. The weather’s been warm, then cold, then warm, then cold. Frost nipped budding trees. In some spots, drenching rains. In others, drought.
Sure these things happen. But Mother Nature seems on hyper-drive. We get half a year’s fluctuations in one month. Global warming? You won’t convince me otherwise. I read An Inconvenient Truth: The Crisis of Global Warming over the weekend and those charts are scary: The increases in carbon in the air; in top average temperatures and human population all spike upward ominously. (This book, by the way is a heavily illustrated, abridged version aimed at kids. It’s a little frightening, but that’s the topic. Good for 12 and up.)
At least if we’re going to be buffeted by wild winds, we’re also making some use of them. The American Wind Energy Association reports today that the U.S. is making steady progress in harnessing the wind.
Texas maintains its position as the leader in this industry with the capacity to produce 7,118 Megawatts of power. That’s enough wind to power 1.75 million homes!
And other states are climbing aboard quickly. Iowa, the number two producer, can generate 2,791 Megawatts. California produces nearly that at 2,517 MW.
Minnesota (1,754 MW) and Iowa (2,791) now get more than 7 percent of their power needs from wind. These strides sound a hopeful note for meeting the U.S.’s modest goal of producing 20 percent of its energy from wind power by 2020. Maybe we can even outperform?
See our story for more.
(Photo credit: NOAA.)
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