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Wind power has shown tremendous potential as a source of renewable energy. Its popularity is also steadily increasing. Adoption of wind power in the U.S. can be seen in celebrations of Global Wind Day on June 15 across the country, as well as through initiatives to increase wind power use by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Wind Program. While you may have heard about some of the benefits of wind, we want to share some facts that you might not know about and blow you away.
- Wind power is one of the oldest forms of energy
According to the DOE, wind power dates back to at least 5000 B.C., with powering sails as the earliest known use. Wind mills have also been in use since 2000 B.C. and were first developed in China and Persia.
- Wind power is growing
Global wind power grew almost 800% between 2003 and 2013, from a market size of $7.5 billion to $58.5 billion.*
* Source: "Clean Energy Trends 2014," by Clean Edge, a research and advisory firm devoted to the clean-tech sector.
- Wind turbines are impressive
A wind turbine tower can be over 250 feet tall, almost as tall as the Statue of Liberty, states the DOE. A turbine has as many as 8,000 different components and the blade can be up to 150 feet long. Turbines aren't only large—they're also powerful! A single turbine can power 500 homes.
- Wind power can create jobs
According to the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), the manufacturing, construction, and operation of wind employs at least 75,000 Americans. The NRDC estimates that an average wind farm of 100 turbines will create 1,073 jobs over its lifetime. Plus, between now and 2014, the job growth for wind turbine technicians is projected to be 108%.*
* Source: Occupational Outlook Handbook, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, published December 17, 2015.
- America the Wind-iful
Did you know American wind power is a $10 billion-a-year industry? The Wind Energy Foundation estimates that there is enough onshore wind in America to power the country 10 times over and as of May 2014, the United States is home to 46,000 operating wind turbines.
Image courtesy of kondition/Morguefile
These surprising facts about wind took our breath away. Wind power will continue to play a large role in renewable energy as the U.S. strives to reach 20% wind electricity by 2030. If you are interested in playing a part in this growth, learn more about our Wind Energy Technology degree program.