Wind farms to be built across US

IN AN ambitious attempt to accelerate reductions in fossil-fuel emissions and to answer growing public enthusiasm for clean energy, the Clinton administration will today announce an initiative to make wind power the source of 5 per cent of all electricity consumed in the United States by 2020.

The plan, to be outlined this morning by the US Energy Secretary, Bill Richardson, should provide a giant boost to the wind-energy industry in America and Europe. The United Kingdom-based National Wind Power is closely involved in several wind-turbine projects already underway in the US.

If it proves viable, the Richardson plan could mean that new wind farms - with their marching columns of steel masts and twirling giant propellers - will soon be springing up across the US, especially in blowiest states such as those of the Upper Great Plains. Today, only 0.1 per cent of the electricity consumed in the US is produced in this way.

"We're going to double US wind-energy capacity by 2005 and then double it again by 2010," Mr Richardson told the New York Times yesterday. "By 2020 it would be 5 per cent". To help ensure the goal is met, the federal government, which is the largest energy customer in the US, would pledge to buy 5 per cent of its electricity from wind generators by 2010.

"We think that wind technology has the most potential of any renewable energy technology right now," Mr Richardson said. He will be making his announcement at the annual meeting of the American Wind Energy Association in Vermont.

Other contenders for green energy production include electricity generation from biomass, from the sun and from geothermal heat and steam. The Energy Department in Washington has concluded, however, that wind energy offers the most economically viable alternative to fossil-fuel and nuclear generation. At the moment, the production of electricity in the US is the single largest source of industrial air pollution.

Such have been the advances in the technology used in the wind mills, that the cost of a single kilowatt hour from wind has dropped from 40 cents in the early Seventies to just 5 cents today. The turbines, moreover, are about 1,000 times larger than they used to be, with blades that can be longer than the wing of a Boeing 727. In areas where winds blow well, the turbines are expected to be turning fast enough to produce power about eight hours out of every 24 on average.

By the end of this year, wind farms will together produce about 2,500 megawatts of electricity in the US, up from 1,600 megawatts a year ago. That compares with the 900 megawatts put out by a medium-sized nuclear plant.

The industry has been expanding even without today's declaration of love by the federal government. Just last week, the company Green Mountain Energy announced plans to build 10 to 15 giant turbines in western Pennsylvania. The farm is to be operated by American National Wind Power, the US arm of Britain's National Wind Power. NWP currently operates wind farms in Britain that put out 140 megawatts of electricity.

Green Mountain said that one of the new turbines would displace 1,200 tons of carbon dioxide that would otherwise have been emitted in one year, "the equivalent of an automobile driving three million miles".

Growing public support for renewable power was demonstrated by the gathering of thousands at a rally in San Francisco on Saturday.

News
peopleFrankie Boyle responds to referendum result in characteristically offensive style
Sport
Lewis Hamilton will start the Singapore Grand Prix from pole, with Nico Rosberg second and Daniel Ricciardo third
F1... for floodlit Singapore Grand Prix
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvHe is only remaining member of original cast
Arts and Entertainment
tvHighs and lows of the cast's careers since 2004
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
Gabriel Agbonlahor, Alexis Sanchez, Alan Pardew and Graziano Pelle
footballAfter QPR draw, follow Villa vs Arsenal, Newcastle vs Hull and Swansea vs Southampton
New Articles
i100... she's just started school
News
news
New Articles
i100
Life and Style
Couples have been having sex less in 2014, according to a new survey
life
Arts and Entertainment
musicBiographer Hunter Davies has collected nearly a hundred original manuscripts
New Articles
i100... despite rising prices
Voices
Holly's review of Peterborough's Pizza Express quickly went viral on social media
voices
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Cover Supervisor

£75 - £90 per day + negotiable: Randstad Education Group: Are you a cover supe...

Marketing Manager - Leicestershire - £35,000

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (CIM, B2B, MS Offi...

Marketing Executive (B2B and B2C) - Rugby, Warwickshire

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful organisation wit...

SEN Coordinator + Teacher (SENCO)

£1 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Job Purpose To work closely with the he...

Day In a Page

Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

A shot in the dark

Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
His life, the universe and everything

His life, the universe and everything

New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
Save us from small screen superheroes

Save us from small screen superheroes

Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
Reach for the skies

Reach for the skies

From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

12 best hotel spas in the UK

Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
How to make a Lego masterpiece

How to make a Lego masterpiece

Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam