As stated earlier, predictions about the future are risky; however, here they are:

1. At some point in time there will be a distributed wind market, very similar to the farm implement business today. A farmer, rancher, or agribusiness owner will go to the bank and obtain a loan for a wind turbine (size range from 25 to 1,000 kW). He will expect a payback of 5-7 years, and it will make money for him for the next 15 years. The nice thing about money from wind-generated energy, value of energy displaced (retail rates) and the avoided cost for electricity, is that it will not fluctuate like other agriculture commodities.

2. Major transmission lines will be built from the windy plains areas in the United States to load centers. Within 10 years, wind power will compete with fuel adjustment cost without production tax credits, primarily due to value received for the reduction of carbon dioxide emissions.

3. There will be trading in carbon dioxide in the United States, much as there is now trading in NOX and SOX. At that point in time, wind energy becomes the cheapest source of electricity. Why is Shell Oil now buying wind farms? In my opinion, it is the same as European countries buying forests in South America to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. A wind farm, La Venta II (83 MW), in Oaxaca, Mexico, displaces 205,380 tons/year of carbon dioxide, and the CO2 credit for the first 7 years goes to the Spanish Carbon Fund, which helped finance the project. The value of wind energy would increase by $0.0.03-04/ kWh if the avoided CO2 is worth $30/ton.

4. Cooperative wind plants, from one to ten units, will become common. Because of the economies of scale, groups of farmers will form cooperatives to buy larger-sized wind turbines.

As stated in Chapter 2, the world faces a tremendous energy problem, and a number of people have sounded the warning and suggested solutions [19, 20]. The first priority is conservation and energy efficiency, and the second is the increased use of renewable energy. Wind has now become part of national energy policies, which is reflected in the large growth rate in wind capacity across the world.

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable Energy 101

Renewable energy is energy that is generated from sunlight, rain, tides, geothermal heat and wind. These sources are naturally and constantly replenished, which is why they are deemed as renewable. The usage of renewable energy sources is very important when considering the sustainability of the existing energy usage of the world. While there is currently an abundance of non-renewable energy sources, such as nuclear fuels, these energy sources are depleting. In addition to being a non-renewable supply, the non-renewable energy sources release emissions into the air, which has an adverse effect on the environment.

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