How many wind turbines would it take…

How much dedicated acreage would the US need to allocate to wind turbines to power the US?  That is the question the science news magazine IFLScience! posed to John Hensley, manager of industry data analysis for the American Wind Energy Association in a recent article.  Shockingly, the amount of acreage is much smaller then most people would think.  Mr Hensley worked the math and the United States would need approximately 583,000 wind turbines to supply the US’s annual power consumption of 4.082 billion megawatt-hours.  The amount of acreage needed for these wind turbines would be an area roughly about the size of Rhode Island based on the 0.74 acres per megawatt produced.  wind-power

If we bring that idea closer to home, a great conversation for Transition Bluffton would be how much acreage could Bluffton dedicate to renewable energy?  What is Bluffton’s annual power consumption and what would be the benefits of being a town powered by renewable energy?

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  1. An interesting question. I would think that Bluffton would have lots of potential for wind and solar and other renewable energy options to replace the coal we are now using. Remember, however, that there are significant down sides to most energy sources, even the “alternatives”. In addition to acreage, wind generators use large quantities of concrete, steel, copper, composites, etc. Perhaps more important than improving the source of the energy that we use is reducing the quantity of energy we use. Conservation and reducing our energy expectations is often easier and less expensive than building new generating facilities.

    • I think that if we, nationally, came up with a plan to move to sustainable energies where we set regions for renewal and work with energy providers to remove coal/gas/oil energy plants and recycle the materials within them that we could come to halving the needed resources for farms. Metallurgy is trickier when using recycled materials as they are not pure, but is being done. If that plan could account for reusing 50% of resources and a gigantic decrease in CO2 emissions while maintaining and then reducing the cost of electricity it would be negligent to not move in that direction.

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