The next time your hat blows off your head on a windy day, a light bulb should go off.
And one day many light bulbs will go off as that power becomes an important and growing source of energy for the world, experts say.
Wind can generate energy. It is plentiful and is a promising energy source for the future, writes Wolf D. Fuhrig, in a column for the Journal-Courier of Jacksonville, Ill.
Wind farms in the U.S. and abroad are being built at a rapid pace to harness energy that could work in tandem with existing energy sources. Windmills and turbines play a crucial part in driving the technology, but they will not be cost efficient until their parts are mass produced.
The drawback? Wind can only be used as a secondary source of energy until wind technology can be further developed, according to Fuhrig. Turbines, the mechanical devices that convert fluid energy into electricity, are not cheap to build.
In North Dakota, wind has been used to close the energy gap on coal, the No. 1 source for electricity.
And one local energy producer, Basin Electric Cooperative in Bismarck, N.D., recently surpassed its goal of producing 10 percent of its energy through renewable resources.
Basin produces 13 percent of its power through wind and almost 6 percent of its power through hydro power. Basin buys most of its power from companies that run wind farms and it owns wind turbine farms in North Dakota and South Dakota, reports the Minot Daily News.
The higher the speed of wind, the more megawatts produced per hour, said Mark Loats, operation and maintenance supervisor at PrairieWinds ND 1, Inc., which is located in Minot, N.D.
The company says its PrairieWinds ND 1 is the largest wind project solely owned and operated by an electric cooperative in the U.S. Basin also owns and operates PrairieWinds SD 1, Inc., located in White Lake, S.D.
For for consumers, a sizable investment — in the tens of thousands that would be recouped in 10 to 20 years — would be necessary to become an electricity producer.
In 2013, wind energy production had reached 4 percent of total worldwide electricity usage. It accounts for 2.5 percent of all electricity production, and it’s on track to grow at a rate of 25 percent annually.
While the power is promising, the energy of winds varies throughout the U.S. and the world. The U.S. wants to produce at least 20 percent of its electricity by wind by the year 2030.