Will Connecticut be a Big Player in Wind Energy?

  • Added:
    Aug 06, 2014
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Will Connecticut be a Big Player in Wind Energy? Photo by Michelle Erca

As of right now, coal, one of the most limited (and THE dirtiest) energy resources that we use, accounts for well over a third (39 percent) of our nation’s total electricity generation. As you well know, environmental, economical and sustainability issues mean that we cannot continue along this path. That is why we need to make efforts to expand the use of more clean, renewable energy sources in our electricity production portfolio.

Wind energy is one such resource that is looked upon as one of our energy saviors, now and in the future. Its use is expected to be expanded so much, in fact, that it is expected to produce one third of our nation’s energy, usurping coal as a primary energy producer, by the middle of the century. This can seem to be an ambitious plan, considering the fact that wind only accounts for less than five percent of our total energy production right now. The federal government plans on achieving this goal by continually doubling wind power output, which currently sits at 61 gigawats, each decade until 2050. The terminal goal is 35 percent of our total energy production.

While this goal may seem aggressive, the leadership of the American Wind Energy Association has suggested that the above numbers can be easily beaten if the government maintains wind energy producer tax credits and toughens their clean energy policies. The cost of wind power has also plummeted by over 90 percent in the past few decades.

Despite the ostensible benefits of joining in on the solar power revolution, one state will not be a major player in the wind industry: Connecticut.

How much of a role does Connecticut expect to play in wind energy?

As of right now, energy suppliers in CT use almost no wind energy to power homes and businesses in the state. This isn’t expected to change very much be the 2050 mark. The United States Department of Energy expects energy suppliers in CT to be supplying customers with less than 500 megawatts by then—that is a splash in the bucket compared to the nearly 500 gigawatts (1,000 megawatts) of power that the entire nation will be producing at the time.
Connecticut is not completely ignoring wind, though. The state is, for example, has arranged a $1 billion contract between energy suppliers in CT and The State of Maine to help develop and use wind farms there. Pojects like this one should help reduce electric rates for CT residents as a whole.

Why will Connecticut’s role in wind be so negligible?

States such as Texas, where windswept plains are bountiful, are expected to be major players in our nation’s wind powered future. Connecticut, unfortunately, bears few areas like that. This means that the state’s ability to produce wind generated electricity for energy suppliers in CT to distribute to their customers is relatively limited to begin with.
There is also the matter of aesthetics. Many people consider wind farms, which include dozens of 328 foot towers, a looming eyesore. This means that people in many areas will actively fight to keep wind turbines as far away from their neighborhoods as possible.

Should Connecticut be making a change to use more wind?

Not necessarily. Although wind energy is an excellent source of electricity, there are many other renewable energy options that can be used in lieu of wind turbine-generated power, so Connecticut can still be a part of a green, renewable future without a heavy investment in wind power.

What is Connecticut doing to reduce emissions and expand their renewable energy portfolio?

The State of Connecticut has enacted several statewide initiatives to reduce their reliance on fossil fuels such as coal and oil for energy. For example, the state is weaning energy suppliers in CT off of fossil fuels by instead making a push for natural gas as an alternative. While it is not wholly green, natural gas is renewable and produces much fewer emissions than fossil fuels.

For long-term green, renewable energy production, the state is leaning heavily on soar and hydroelectric power. This can be evidenced by the state’s initiatives to help homeowners and businesses install solar panel systems, and the recent activation of solar farms and hydroelectric dams.

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