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Wind Energy Updates in 2019

What’s new in wind energy for 2019? The forecast is promising. There is an increase in both onshore and offshore development projects. Many more powerful wind turbines are popping up across the nation and even out at sea. Several states are ramping up their capacity to generate electricity from wind. It looks as if policymakers, investors and developers are starting to think outside of their comfort zones. This is great news for clean energy enthusiasts and our environment.

Costs are Dropping

Wind energy used to be costly. Now, wind energy is one of the cheapest sources of generating electricity. In fact, wind energy today costs 69 percent less than it did in 2009. Modern turbines can generate much more power at a lower cost. Projects costs are falling, and this trend is continuing. According to the DOE (Department of Energy) what once cost 7 cents/kWh for power purchase agreements in 2009, has now dropped even further to about 2 cents/kWh. The offshore wind industry is about to bloom, big time. There is potential to generate more than 2,000 gigawatts of power. That number is almost double our nation’s current electricity use. To get an idea of how many utility-scale wind turbines 2,000 gigawatts of power is, check this out: four hundred thirty-one utility-scale wind turbines are equal to 1 gigawatt of power. Of course, this technology is evolving quickly, and wind turbines are becoming more powerful.

Coastal states like Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Island are driving the offshore wind industry on the east coast. And out west, California is researching floating wind turbine structures. Floating wind structures are vital to the wind industry because it enables these structures to be placed further out into the ocean, where the potential to generate clean electricity from wind is high.

The Forecast is Looking Good for the Wind Energy Job Sector

New wind industry projects mean lots of new jobs. Construction and operating jobs are on the horizon, and these are well-paying jobs. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the second fastest-growing job in the U.S. is a wind energy technician. Right now, there are wind jobs in all 50 states. Land-based wind industry jobs already support over 114,000 American jobs, and it’s continuing to grow. There are over 500 factories in the U.S. for building wind-related parts, and these factories are employing Americans.

Texas leads the nation in producing the most wind power. In fact, Texas’ wind capacity is at least three times more than the runner-up, Iowa. Of course, oil is still king in Texas, but things are starting to change. The rise of jobs and the need for clean energy is evident. Along with operational roles, there are numerous manufacturing facilities and component suppliers in Texas. With the advancement of offshore and onshore wind farms, the job market potential in Texas is enormous.

The east coast is embracing the wind industry, especially with regards to offshore wind farms. A study by the Clean Energy States alliance found that even 8 gigawatts of offshore wind from Maryland to Maine can create over 36,000 full-time jobs over the next ten years. Everyone can benefit from the wind industry. The offshore wind industry is poised to revitalize ports and coastal communities, and it will deliver reliable, clean energy to some of America’s most populated areas. It’s a win-win situation.

Farmers and ranchers in rural America are embracing wind turbine placement on their property. There are significant advantages, for one, it’s a reliable, drought-resistant cash crop. Plus, there’s lots of money to be made from leasing out space for wind turbines. Landowners can receive up to $8,000 per year for a single wind turbine lease on their property. So, landowners able to host several hundred wind turbines can cash in on the growing demand for clean energy.

What to Expect

Floating wind turbines. As mentioned earlier, we can expect to see wind turbines far out at sea. They’ll be floating because the water is too deep for a fixed, solid foundation. As of now, there are operational floating wind farms in Hywind, Scotland, with five turbines generating a total capacity of 30 MW. The other, in Japan, has four floating wind turbines with a combined capacity of 16 MW. Northern California is poised to become the home of America’s first floating wind farm.

Cleaner energy support from corporations. Corporations are purchasing more and more renewable energy every year. Did you know that Facebook has committed to 100% clean energy by the year 2020? Facebook plans to do this by opting for more wind and solar power. Facebook purchased more than 7 GW of renewables in 2018, compared to 5.4 GW in 2017.

Continued growth. There is always going to be wind blowing. Best of all, it’s free. With technological advancements, lower costs, and a thriving job market, the growth in wind power is expected to grow by leaps and bounds.

It’s easier than ever to make the switch to clean energy. Compare and shop for 100% clean, renewable energy plans at Vault Electricity.

How to Stay Safe From Electrical Dangers After a Tornado

They don’t call parts of Texas tornado alley for nothing. We get tornadoes a lot, so much so that the highest average annual number in the U.S. is in the Lonestar State. If you’ve ever experienced one, then you know that when a tornado comes ripping through your area, it can be scary stuff. March through May are the peak months in Texas, but tornadoes can happen at any time of the year, and when they do, they can cause severe damage to all types of structures, including power lines and other electrical equipment. Once you’ve weathered the storm, you need to prepare for the dangers that are present after a tornado strikes.

Be Alert to Your Surroundings

Most tornadoes come with little or no warning. That said, you can be better prepared when you know there’s one on the horizon. Pay attention to a few warning signs, like a dark, greenish sky or a wall cloud. Other signs to look for are large-sized hail and a sound that’s similar to a freight train. Often, tornadoes accompany a thunderstorm and are quite visible to the naked eye. So, if the weather looks like it’s starting to get worse, take shelter. You’ll want to prepare for any kind of natural disaster, so be sure to have an emergency kit handy and a family emergency plan. It’s also a good idea to invest in a hand-cranked or battery-powered radio. Invest in a portable cell phone charger so you can stay connected to better monitor the situation, and call loved ones to let them know how you’re doing.

Assess the Damage

Once the storm has passed, you’ll want to assess the damage. Watch out for debris, like glass, nails and other hazards. For safety, you’ll want to be wearing long pants, a long-sleeve shirt, and a pair of sturdy shoes to survey the damage. Tornadoes can down power lines, so stay away from power lines you see on the ground and contact your local electric utility company. Keep in mind that just because a power line looks like it’s not active, doesn’t mean it’s not live and dangerous. Never touch a downed power line, regardless of the situation. Downed power lines can still energize things around it. So, if these lines are near chain link fences or other metal objects, stay away and wait for authorities.

You’ll also want to be mindful of exposed electrical wiring in your home or place of shelter. Exposed wires can cause injuries such as electric shock, fires and electrocution. If the building you’re taking cover in is in bad shape, you might want to find shelter in another building. However, large rooms such as gymnasiums and auditoriums are not very safe due to possible falling debris.

When you’re inspecting your home and notice damage to structures, shut off electrical power. You’ll also want to shut off natural gas lines and any propane tanks. If a tornado strikes at night and it’s dark inside, reach for a flashlight rather than a candle. Candles can increase the risk of an explosion or fire in a damaged home, especially if there’s a gas leak present. If you smell gas, contact the gas company or your local police or fire department. Try to clean up as best you can. There might be spilled medicines, flammable liquids, and other potentially hazardous materials that need to be cleaned up.

Assist Your Neighbors

Severe storms, such as tornadoes, can cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage. Tornadoes can also cause fatalities, and one of the significant causes comes from flying debris. Besides deaths, there may be many people injured after a tornado. Stepping on nails is a common injury, as are injuries caused by falling or rolling heavy objects. People may be injured due to electrocution or fires, too. Once you know that your family is safe from harm, help your neighbors if you can. Police, firefighters, relief organizations, and emergency management may ask for volunteers to help with cleaning up or assisting those in need. If you’re adequately trained and emergency response teams haven’t arrived, provide first aid to victims.

Tornadoes are scary at any age and are especially frightening to children. Be sure to explain the situation and reassure them that it’s a natural event. Let them express their feelings of fear and be sure to listen and show them that you understand. Provide reassurance by spending time with your children and showing them love. One of the best things you can do is to include your children in any clean-up activities. Watching the home return to normal and giving them a job to do is comforting.

You can switch to a different provider if you live in an area that’s in a deregulated energy market. Vault Electricity works with the top trusted REPs in Texas and can help you find a new electricity provider that offers excellent service and low electricity rates.

How Does Wind Energy Work?

The switch is on. More and more energy consumers are turning away from fossil fuels that harm the environment. People are making the switch to clean alternatives, like wind energy. This is good news for our planet, which has been suffering from the harmful effects of fossil fuels for far too long. Wind energy is not just better for the environment, but also better for us as it generates industry opportunities and creates jobs all across the U.S. It’s a win-win situation for our way of life.

Using the power of wind to create energy isn’t something new. Humans have benefited from this sustainable source of energy for thousands of years. Humans used the force of wind to set sail and traverse across the globe. Farmers used the wind to power windmills. Today, we’re using wind turbines to deliver electricity to homes and businesses across the U.S. The force of wind continues to be a constant source of clean and renewable energy.

Wind Energy: What is it and How Does it Work?

We found a way to generate power from wind years ago. From its humble beginning of mechanically powering windmills to its evolution of powering wind turbine generators to convert wind power into electricity — wind energy is a simple and effective way to provide energy. Using generators to provide electricity to buildings and homes is forging a new era that benefits energy consumers and our planet.

But how does it work? Of course, there needs to be a significant force of wind. You’ll also need a turbine. The turbines most of us are familiar with are the ones with two or three large propeller-like blades. You’ve probably seen them while driving, usually through rural areas with lots of open space. You may have also seen these turbines while flying over the ocean or lakes, where they are used to great effect. The horizontal-axis, propeller-like turbines are the most common. However, there are also vertical-axis turbines that look like an egg beater, though they’re less reliable than horizontal-axis turbines.

Here’s the lowdown. The turbines convert the energy of the wind to create electricity. When there’s strong enough wind, the rotor blades will capture the force of the wind and transfer this power to the rotor hub. The rotor connects to the main shaft, and it’s spinning the generator. All this creates electricity. It really is that simple.

One question that always comes up is how much electricity can a wind turbine generate? There’s no set answer because it depends on the size of the wind turbine and how much wind speed is going through the rotor. So, a very windy area with high wind speeds is going to be a favorable spot for well-positioned wind turbines.

Electricity from wind

Why Care About Wind Energy?

Anyone that cares about a healthy environment, and wants the next generation to inherit a healthy planet should care about wind energy. Wind power is carbon-free, so it doesn’t produce any carbon emissions. Also, the wind is a renewable energy source — we won’t ever run out of it. With climate change a reality, there’s no better time than now to start weaning ourselves from our dependency on fossil fuels. Today, wind power only represents a small fraction of power generation. It’s still struggling to grab hold of the fossil-fuel giants. However, the future is looking up. Wind turbine use is steadily increasing by more than 25 percent a year, and it’s creating great-paying jobs. In fact, the second fastest growing occupation in the United States is a wind turbine technician. According to the American Wind Energy Association, the wind industry in the US supported over 105,000 jobs, and Texas is leading the nation with up to 25,000 people employed in wind industry jobs.

How Will Wind Energy Improve the Future of the Industry and Planet?

We know that the use of fossil fuels is driving climate change. Power plants that rely on coal, oil or natural gas to create electricity are polluting the air with toxins and emitting harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. If we keep up with fossil fuels as our primary source of energy, what’s going to happen to our planet? Wind produces no toxins. Also, while some might complain that a wind farm takes up too much land, and tends to look like an eye-sore, one wind turbine alone won’t take up much space and some people like the design. Wind farms can have a positive financial effect on landowners too. Landowners can harvest wind energy and produce cattle, corn, wheat and other commodities. Also, big-time corporations like AT&T and Walmart are buying wind energy, so the shift to clean energy is well on its way. Today, the electricity generated by wind can power up to 24 million homes. Investments in wind projects are on the rise, leading to a greener future for generations to come.

If you’re ready to give wind energy a shot, Vault Electricity can help. You can compare green energy electricity providers and select one that is perfectly suited to your needs. 

2016 Another Strong Year for Renewable Energy and Natural Gas

2016 Renewable EnergyContinuing a 3 year trend, 2016 saw renewable energy account for the majority of new electricity generation capacity in the United States.  The lion’s share of these additions came in the form of wind and solar power.

As is often the case, renewable energy generation peaked in the spring on a nationwide basis.  The spring typically sees a peak in hydroelectric power in the western part of the U.S. as rain and snowmelt drives hydro power. The Western United States also contributed the majority of the country’s solar power with 77% of total U.S. solar generation.  In Texas, the state’s massive installed wind base continued to churn out electricity for the Texas electricity grid which is separate from the other major U.S. electricity grids.

While 2016 also saw a large increase in solar power, most new solar capacity comes from small scale solar photovoltaic rather than large scale utility generation.  As of October of 2016 the U.S had a total of 12.6 GW of small-scale solar power installed.

Wholesale Electricity Rates Continue to Fall

Despite the fact that new capacity generation is coming largely from renewable energy sources, it is cheap natural gas that continues to put downward pressure on electricity rates.  Monthly wholesale prices for 2016 were lower than 2015; driven largely by lower natural gas prices.  The cost of natural gas delivered to power generators was 17% lower for the first 10 months of 2016.

Low rates for natural gas also contributed to an increased reliance on natural gas for electricity generation.  2016 saw, first the first time, natural gas surpass coal for electricity nationwide.  Although, in Texas this has been the case for a number of years.

 

GM Continues Transition To Renewable Energy With Wind-Powered Arlington, Texas Plant

electric-car-plantGM has recently announced its latest milestone in its drive to increase its use of renewable energy to power its operations. The company last year completed a deal to purchase sufficient wind-generated energy to power its major plant in Arlington, as well as 15 other separate facilities, which includes GM’s financial headquarters located in the downtown area of Fort Worth.

The company stated that it has agreed to buy 50 megawatts of electricity produced at the Cactus Flats wind farm, a massive 150-megawatt farm that is under development near San Angelo by Renewable Energy Systems. The Cactus Flats wind farm is another major investment in wind energy in Texas, which is currently the largest producer of wind energy in the country with over 10,000 turbines currently in operation.

The plant in Arlington builds some of GM’s most iconic models, focusing on the company’s top-selling sport utility vehicles. The plant already receives 50% of its power from renewable sources of energy, and the addition of the Cactus Flats wind farm will result in the plant being powered completely by green energy sources. It is estimated that the shift to wind power will reduce the plant’s total energy costs by up to $3 million a year, as well as reduce carbon dioxide emissions by more than 1 million tons over the entirety of the contract.

GM’s Worldwide Targets for Renewable Energy Part of Climate Change Commitments

Beginning in 2018, GM will be sourcing over 193,000 megawatt hours of power per year from wind alone. At the beginning of the contract over 6% of GM’s worldwide energy use will be from renewable sources. This recent deal is just a small part of GM’s long-term commitment to being powered entirely by renewable sources by 2050. This goal was set alongside other similar climate change commitments, such as the development of vehicles powered by electricity.

See Also: Amazon Comes To Texas For Electricity

See Also: Arlington Electricity Providers

 

Texas Sets Another Record For Wind Power

Texas Wind EnergyTexas has set a new record for electricity generated from wind.  On November 27th 2016, the ERCOT system saw more than 15,000 megawatts of electricity provided to the grid from wind turbines.

The amount represented about 45% of the spot demand for power in the grid in the afternoon.

“We saw high wind output throughout the day, ranging from just over 10,000 MW during the late night hours to this peak output during the noon hour,” said ERCOT Senior Director of System Operations Dan Woodfin. “Over the years, ERCOT has taken a number of steps, such as improving renewable generation forecasts, to allow us to operate the grid reliably on days like this.”

During the period, total output from wind approach the system capacity of 17,000 MW.

See Also: Wind Energy Provides Cheap Electricity In Texas

 

Cheap Natural Gas Leads to Falling Consumer Electricity Rates

Plunging oil prices may have hit some energy companies hard and have some oil-producing nations worried about their budget deficits, but it has been a boon to the average American consumer as electricity rates have dropped 1% nationwide to an average of 12.4 cents per kilowatt hour, the first nationwide decline in energy prices in decades.

electricity_rates

As developed nations move away from burning dirty coal for energy as a result of the efforts to meet international greenhouse emission caps, cleaner burning natural gas plants and alternative energy sources (wind, sun, geothermal, etc) are filling in the gaps. Natural gas is now the major source of fuel for energy producing plants, and a 28% drop in the price of natural gas for energy producers over the first half of the year has translated into big gains for consumers nationwide.

However, the replacement of coal burning plants with plants that use natural gas and a plunging price in hydrocarbons is not the entire story. Solar and wind energy in particular continue to become more efficient with advancing technologies, and are taking an increasing share of national, and international, energy production. This year the United Kingdom produced more energy from solar panels than from burning coal, and marked the first day since 1882 that no energy was produced from the burning of coal across the entire nation.

The state of Texas has enjoyed an even greater drop in consumer electricity prices, down 6% to 11 cents per kilowatt hour, thanks to easy access to plentiful supplies of cheap natural gas and a deregulated market. The deregulated market has allowed producers to adjust their prices sooner to reflect the lower cost of natural gas, and then pass these savings on to the consumer.

New England, which has a similar share to Texas of energy produced by natural gas, saw a similar decline in electricity rates over the year. However, the biggest decline of 12% was observed in the state of Hawaii, which uses oil for the vast majority of its energy production. The steep decline in the price of oil helped to bring electricity rates down substantially, albeit from a position that was far above the national average as a result of the state’s remote location and the difficulties that its geography causes for the installation of energy infrastructure.