The overall outline of the story is simple enough: Kodiak Electric Association (KEA), the utility which operates the small, isolated utility system, installed three 1.5-MW wind turbines last year, and now reports that in a single year of operation, they saved KEA 930,000 gallons of diesel fuel, or more than $3 million.
Think about it a bit more, though, and it becomes clear that KEA’s experience strikes at the heart of some of the myths being most enthusiastically flogged by fossil-fuel-funded disinformers these days:
– If wind energy does not reduce emissions, because backup power units must be kept running anyway, how did KEA save 930,000 gallons of diesel fuel?
– If wind power does not displace fossil fuels, because backup power units must be kept running anyway, how did KEA save 930,000 gallons of diesel fuel?
– If wind farm is unreliable and hard to integrate into utility systems, how did KEA manage to integrate wind turbines into a small, isolated utility system?
“The use of wind turbines is saving our customers money and reducing emissions by directly displacing much of our diesel generation,” says Darron Scott, president & CEO of KEA. “The Pillar Mountain Wind Farm Project is a significant step toward our target to generate 95% of our power from renewable resources by 2020.”
How about that?
While U.S. may lag, worldwide wind sails on
Even though wind power has hit a rough patch in the U.S., it is continuing to expand steadily worldwide, according to new information on the global wind market from the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
GWEC expects global installed wind capacity to be near 200 GW (200,000 MW, enough to serve the equivalent of roughly 60 million American homes) by the end of this year, and to double by 2014.
The new projections underline the urgent need for Congress to pass a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) to keep America from being left behind in one of the largest new manufacturing industries of the 21st Century.
By Tom Gray, www.awea.org/blog/