Jump in Wind Powered Electricity

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October 23, 2008

By Bob Difley
Some good news on the alternative energy scene. The American Wind Energy Association announced yesterday (Wednesday) that the US added enough wind produced energy in the second quarter of 2008 to power 400,000 homes–nearly 1,400 megawatts. They also announced that wind turbines will produce this year about 7,500 megawatts of additional electricity, up from 5,249 megawatts installed in 2007–a 43% increase!
Wind power produced more than one-third of the new electric generating capacity installed in the US in 2007, and predictions are that it will continue to grow at this pace. And if Boone Pickens energy plan works out, it will push that total even higher.
This year alone in the US, eight wind turbine component manufacturing facilities opened, nine were expanded, and 19 new facilities were announced. Now if we can get the new congress to extend investment tax credits from the one year given to the wind energy sector to the eight years enjoyed by the solar industry, as well as establishing a new federal renewable energy standard, we might see even more clean energy supplied to the grid. New wind-produced, clean energy will be an important factor as more and more electric and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles (many of which will be towed behind RVs) come on the market and are being charged overnight at home and at campgrounds from grid power.

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  1. Hi, We live in west central Illinois. If all goes as planned construction on about
    230 new wind turbines will begin next year in 3 of our counties. We have some
    opposed because, “they will look bad.” However, they will look a lot better than 24hr smoke coming from a 600′ stack and a 60 day supply coal pile leaching into our ground water and very large fly ash pile requiring disposal. Nor will they require thousands of gallons of oil to pull one single train load of coal that belches out long tails of exhaust. As a retired railroad engineer I know using 3 locomotives it took approx 1000 gal of diesel fuel per locomotive to move 18000 tons of coal across 230 miles of very hilly Iowa country side. Many trains run
    1500 miles from mine to power plant loaded and then have to return to the mine empty for the next load requiring additional fuel. The railroad I worked for at any one moment in time had 160 coal trains in motion and business has doubled since my retirement. Lots and lots of polution.

  2. Mike - The Old Ranger - Steffen

    Howdy !

    Bob, I don’t know iffen you knew, but I did a series of articles over at Trail Blaaer Magazine on ant-energy. a few months ago. One of the items were wind gens for RV’s and a stand to make the whisper-300 units portable for RV’s. If you wantI I’ll send you a copy of the articles long with the POC’s.



  3. Fred

    Hi Bob,

    Jim Tucker reveals much to be concerned about. From my dad’s farm in central Texas, we watched several trainloads of coal per day coming down from “up north” somewhere. This has been going on for decades. There are lots and lots of coal-fired plants in central and south Texas.

    As you may already know, west Texas already has thousands of wind turbines and leads the nation in wind power. Although that power is confined right now to west Texas communities, just months ago the Texas Power and Utilities Commision mandated a $4.3 billion grid to be intalled to transmit west Texas power to north and central Texas. When that is completed, it will reduce the number of coal operated power plants forever – well, until the natural gas runs out.

    What happened to the RV boondocking power blog?


  4. I’m sure many of you have noticed this too. As we travel down the road we often see convoys of trucks with yellow “oversize load” signs hauling 100 foot blades for new wind turbines. It’s a pretty sight to see.

    Hopefully, wind and solar power will help us eliminate the use of natural gas for commercial production of electricity. Wind and solar can happen quickly, and in the future additional nuclear power production can be added to the mix.

    After the election is over, I hope reasonable people with common goals can agree to moving forward with urgency to break our dependence on foreign oil. This is compatible with the goal of reducing our total CO2 emissions. However, people on both the left and the right of the political spectrum will need to compromise and set aside their rigid political stances to make it work.

  5. Thomas Becher

    I too am excited to see more “wind mills” being put up. However we just came back from a trip to Minnesota and on a bike ride we saw a lot of them working. We stopped to get something to eat and when we came out about half were shut down and as we pedeled along more were stopping. The wind didn’t slow and a group of about 75 just kept moving. Just wondered why. Free wind trumps coal or gas anyday.

  6. Jim Tucker – Thanks for your comments and especially all that info. on trains and coal from an insider.
    Fred – There’s an Oops! there somewhere. I wrote the post on electricity and boondocking mid week and specified publishing on Sat. morn. I was gone visiting my son overnight on Sat. so didn’t discover that it had not been posted until today (Sunday). I went into the blog, found the instruction to publish it on Sat., but it never happened. I did publish it today, though.
    Mac – We can only hope. But the more everybody learns about the threats of fossil fuels and the possilities of clean energy, the more chance we have of reaching that goal.
    Thomas – Thanks for your “on the road” report. Would more of you check in on what you are seeing as your roam around the windier–or sunnier in the case of solar–parts of the country.
    Thank you all for your comments. Bob

  7. John Webber


    I have been interested in small wind powered generators ever since I saw them on small sail boats. Could you PLEASE send me the articles and POC’s?

  8. Mel MC

    Hi Mike , Bob and anyone else
    We are doing some research into having a green rv built. Would love to see any information, articles, POC’s about solar and especially wind sources with solar and the benefit of having both
    , water conservation, etc. for extended boondocking.

  9. Jeff Becker

    With the price of gasoline approaching $2 per gallon, I am rethinking my plan to sell our Class C 27′ RV. We purchased it primarily to take from Florida to Alaska, but had to change course as fuel catapulted out of sight.
    If it keeps coming down, we HOPE we can make it to Alaska with an April departure from Cape Coral/Ft. Myers, Fl.

  10. The cost of wind turbines is still expensive, but I do think they are the way of the future. As more and more are built, the cost will come down. I think within the next decade, we could be more reliant on renewable energy rather than nuclear and coal.