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Since 1980, the use of wind to produce electricity has been growing rapidly. In 1994 there were nearly 20,000 wind turbines worldwide, most grouped in clusters called wind farms that collectively produced 3,000 megawatts of electricity. Most were in Denmark (which got 3 percent of its electricity from wind turbines) and California (where 17,000 machines produced 1 percent of the state’s electricity, enough to meet the residential needs of a city as large as San Francisco). In principle, all the power needs of the United States could be provided by exploiting the wind potential of just three states—North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas. Large wind farms can be built in six months to a year and then easily expanded as needed. With a moderate to fairly high net energy yield, these systems emit no heattrapping carbon dioxide or other air pollutants and need no water for cooling; manufacturing them produces little water pollution. The land under wind turbines can be used for grazing cattle and other purposes, and leasing land for wind turbines can provide extra income for farmers and ranchers.
Wind power has a significant cost advantage over nuclear power and has become competitive with coalfired power plants in many places. With new technological advances and mass production, projected cost declines should 145
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make wind power one of the world’s cheapest ways to produce electricity. In th...
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This note was uploaded on 09/17/2013 for the course LANGUAGE 13DL208 taught by Professor Wang during the Fall '13 term at East China Normal University.
- Fall '13