Here’s something you don’t hear every day– a professor from the University of Wisconsin-Madison is biking 1,200 miles across the Midwest in an effort to promote wind energy.
Dr. James Tinjum is traversing Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota and Iowa, and passing through over 50 wind farms along the way. He teaches in UW-Madison’s Department of Engineering Professional Development, and he hopes to accomplish two goals during his trek: bringing awareness to the fact that Wisconsin hasn’t tapped into its wind resources like its neighboring states, and collecting information for an upcoming book and his students.
“The biggest surprise is people I’ve talked to in Wisconsin really aren’t aware of the benefits and challenges of wind energy,” Dr.Tinjum said. “A 90-year-old lady in a convenience store stopped and talked with me for 25 minutes, just fascinated about what I’m doing.”
While Wisconsin may not generate as much of its electricity using wind as Iowa (36 percent), South Dakota (30 percent) or Minnesota (17 percent), that doesn’t mean citizens from the Badger State haven’t benefited from wind. Wisconsin has a long history as a manufacturing powerhouse, and wind power has become part of that long tradition. The state has 26 factories that build wind-related parts and materials, and they offer good career opportunities for thousands of Wisconsinites. Here are a few I had the good fortune of meeting earlier this spring: