With the recent news of nearly-zero waste cities and Costa Rica achieving 99 percent renewable energy this year, the US has a lot of catching up to do. This year marked an upswing in the production of wind energy, however, as the number of operating turbines reached 50,000 and utility-scale wind farms reached 980. Throughout all the US states and Puerto Rico, this means 70 gigawatts of wind energy have made their way to the power grid.
Wind turbine production reached an all-time high in 2012, when developers rushed to take advantage of expiring tax credits, and took a dip in 2013 with a 90 percent drop in installations. The promise of tax credit renewal for five more years – for both wind and solar energy – has inspired a revival in wind energy production. Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, says, “This American wind power success story just gets better. There’s now enough wind power installed to meet the equivalent of total electricity demand in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Kansas, Colorado and Wyoming.”
With climate change gaining more and more attention worldwide, countries are looking for fast, sustainable, and cheap ways of producing energy. Wind energy promises all of those things. Some may have seen criticisms of turbines’ tendency to kill millions of birds per year, yet others have argued climate change threatens species much more significantly. There are also cheeky reminders of how many birds household cats kill each year to put things into perspective. Overall, the shift away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy is giving the US a chance in the fight against global warming.