It's kind of surreal–who would think that a nuclear emergency would lead to a new round of attacks on wind energy?
Yet that is what is happening. Nuclear advocates, to keep their dream alive, need to claim that nuclear is the only hope, and that wind cannot produce enough electricity to do the job. Coal advocates, meanwhile, are saying that nuclear is dead, and coal is the only hope, because wind cannot produce enough electricity to do the job.
The numbers tell a different story, and they also tell us that this is the last chance–if it's not already too late–to belittle wind power and pass the laugh test. Here are some of them:
– In the last three years, enough new wind power was installed in the U.S. to generate as much electricity as five nuclear power plants.
– This year, U.S. wind turbines will generate as much electricity as 10 nuclear power plants.
– During the Bush Administration, the U.S. Department of Energy found that wind energy could supply 20% of U.S. electricity (roughly what nuclear supplies today) by 2030. To do that, wind would have to generate as much electricity as 75 nuclear plants.
– During the past decade, wind energy installations have surged around the world, going from 17,000 MW in 2000 to 194,000 MW–more than 10 times as much–by 2010. This year, the world's wind turbines will generate as much electricity as 50 nuclear plants.
– The U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimates the total U.S. wind resources at 14 MILLION MW–enough to generate roughly 10 times all of the electricity our nation uses.
Wind energy is clean, affordable, homegrown, and overwhelmingly abundant. End of story.