It’s no secret that the United States is becoming increasingly eco-conscious. As story after story comes out of increased pollution and natural resources that are all too rapidly becoming depleted, the green industry is able to step in and be the perfect answer to many of the dilemmas that are rearing their heads as we move into the future.
One of the major players in the pollution debate has always been the method in which Americans receive and consume their energy. In 2011, coal power was responsible for nearly 42% of the country’s power. However, as this coal is burned, the heat by-product is released and has been shown to contribute heavily to air pollution and the occurrence of acid rain.
This is where wind power steps in. Through the use of turbines, wind energy is converted into electricity. As opposed to coal power, wind energy depletes none of the world’s coal stores, is a source of free fuel and is not under the umbrella of the dramatic price swings we have witnessed with coal. Perhaps most importantly, wind energy produces zero emissions.
On a strict comparison level, the numbers become even more dramatic. One wind turbine is capable of providing upwards to 440 homes with enough power for one year. When we look at coal, things become much different. For just one home, some 14,000 pounds of coal are needed to deliver enough power for one year.
Once the energy is harvested from the source (coal or wind) it goes through the same process to make it into homes and businesses. Power enters a nearby transformer and has its voltage increased and is sent to a substation. When the electricity arrives at a substation it is once again has its voltage increased and is prepared for transmission. From here, all forms of electricity enter the grid where it is filtered through a transformer drum and has its voltage scaled back to safely enter homes and businesses.
For the complete graphical representation, click here.