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Wind Power

April 1, 2011 • Volume 21, Issue 13
Is wind energy good for the environment?
By David Hosansky

Introduction

A small, 18-turbine wind farm (AFP/Getty Images/Karen Bleier)
A small, 18-turbine wind farm in Velva, N.D., population 1,000, generates 12 megawatts, or enough electricity for 6,000 homes. (AFP/Getty Images/Karen Bleier)

Wind has emerged as the nation's fastest-growing energy source, with thousands of towering turbines dotting the countryside from California to New England. Generating capacity has risen as much as 50 percent annually, encouraged by tax incentives and state laws mandating growth in renewable energy. Already, wind provides about 2 percent of electricity nationwide, and the Department of Energy says a 20 percent share by 2030 is possible with improvements in turbine technology, large-scale investment and better planning of the electrical grid. But opponents argue that wind turbines kill tens of thousands of birds and bats each year, mar pristine scenery and require far more land than traditional methods of power generation. The battle over wind is playing out in states such as Wisconsin, where the proximity of turbines to homes is an issue, and Vermont, where environmentalists are divided over two goals: protecting scenic vistas and reducing fossil fuel use.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
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Dec. 16, 2011  Fracking Controversy
May 20, 2011  Energy Policy
Apr. 01, 2011  Wind Power
Jul. 24, 2009  Energy and Climate
May 19, 2006  Energy Efficiency
Feb. 01, 2002  Energy Security
May 25, 2001  Energy Policy
Mar. 03, 2000  Energy and the Environment
Mar. 05, 1999  The Politics of Energy
Oct. 12, 1990  Energy Policy: Options for the 1990s
Jan. 30, 1981  Energy Policy: The New Administration
May 25, 1979  Public Confidence and Energy
Apr. 05, 1974  Continental Energy Sharing
Dec. 29, 1965  Electric Power Supply and Regulation
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Renewable Energy Resources and Alternative Fuels
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