Green Fee Proposal: Wind Energy

Union College is known for the Nott Memorial, and the students of Union College know that the wind that is generated around the Nott across the Rugby field can be very strong. As a college, we should work to utilize this potential wind energy and put in wind turbines or a windmill that can harness the wind energy that is generated. Although wind turbines are unattractive, they could be beneficial considering how hard the wind blows and the energy we would receive could potentially save our school a lot of money. Every student at our school can vividly remember how strong and cold the winter winds are on our campus. If we could harness and store that energy then our school could potentially utilize a majority of this wind energy when weather conditions are optimal.

Go with the Wind?

Wind energy refers to the process of creating electricity using the wind, or air flows that occur naturally in the earth’s atmosphere. Wind turbines are used to capture kinetic energy from the wind and generate electricity.

Wind energy projects have created many economic benefits to the U.S.. The projects have created jobs, created a new source of revenue for farmers and ranchers in the form of land lease payments, and increased local tax base. Wind energy can also lower electricity bills for those who neighbor the wind turbines.

In terms of employment, wind energy projects create new jobs in rural communities in manufacturing, transportation, and project construction. At the end of 2016, the U.S. wind energy industry accounted for 101,000 full-time jobs.

The US Department of Energy projects that we’ll have 404 gigawatts of wind energy capacity across the country by 2050, up from 89 gigawatts today. Because the overall electricity demand is projected to remain consistent, wind energy would soon help provide one-third of the country’s needs.

Currently, the major incentive to invest in wind is the renewable portfolio standard, which mandates a minimum amount of electricity to come from renewable resources. Another incentive is the federal production tax credit, which benefits wind energy installations across the entire country. Overall, wind energy is one of the fastest growing forms of electricity generation in the United States, with the largest share renewable electricity generating capacity in the country.


The Basics of Wind Energy

An example of a renewable energy source that I examined was wind energy, which creates electricity by using the wind, and air flows that occur naturally in Earth’s atmosphere. With the creation of wind turbines, we were able to capture kinetic energy that was created by the wind and generate electricity.  There are three distinct types of wind energy: Utility-scale wind are wind turbines that range in size from one hundred kilowatts to megawatts. The electricity is delivered to the power grid and then distributed to the end user by electric utilities or power system operators. Distributed or “small” wind single small wind turbines that are below 100 kilowatts and are used to directly power a home, farm or small business and are not connected to the grid. And the third type is generated by Offshore Wind, these turbines that are erected in large bodies of water, usually on the continental shelf. Offshore wind turbines are larger than land-based turbines and can generate more power.

The turbines typically stand a little over 260 feet high and wind measurements are collected, and they direct the turbine to rotate while facing the strongest wind, at the correct angle of its blades to capture energy. Over the course of a year, turbines can generate enough usable electricity over 90 percent of the time. These turbines begin to generate power when the wind reaches six to nine miles per hour and will shut down if the wind reaches over fifty-five miles per hour to avoid damages. The building and maintaining of these wind turbines can provide new jobs and begin the spread of “wind farms”.