white and red barn house with wind mill

The History of Wind Power

For part 3 of the energy history series, today’s article will be about the history of wind power. Humans have been utilizing Earth’s resources for hundreds of years. We use wind for sailing, power, paragliding, and even just to freshen up our homes. Here’s how wind contributes to our way of life.

Wind Power

First, let’s go back to 5,000 B.C. Egypt, when Egyptians were exploring the vast Nile River. They discovered how to travel up and down the Nile in boats, using papyrus leaf to catch the wind. Then, a few thousand years later, the Chinese discovered wind-powered water pumps.  Around the same time, the Persians were developing the earliest windmills to grind their grain. Soon, papyrus leaves turned into thick canvas for sails, and wind mills were aiding in production of flour, grain, and salt.

Wind turbines are a descendant of the windmill, which became popularized around 1100. The first of wind-powered turbines to generate power started in 1887 in Scotland. Professor James Blythe constructed a 10 m high wind turbine with cloth sails in his garden. This was the first successful wind turbine to power a home. Blythe wanted to share his convenient discovery with his community, but they rejected it. They thought it was the work of the devil. However, Blythe’s work took only less than a year to reach the U.S. when Charles Brush built a wind turbine to power his Ohio mansion. In 1891, Poul la Cour, develops a regulator to control electricity flow. He then worked off of that and built a small power plant in Denmark 4 years later.

Now, wind turbines are prominent in the Great Plains in the United States, offshore, China, and Germany. You can install a personal wind turbine for your home for a couple million dollars. Turbines typically last about 20-25 years.

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landscape photography of black mountain

2020’s Environmental Actions (US)

Now that we are at the end of 2020, let’s see what environmental actions happened throughout the year in the United States. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Air Act. Over the past 4 years, the Trump administration scaled back on environmental regulations. Find out about air and water quality, animal welfare, and more.

Air & Water Quality

woman in blue denim jacket holding white smartphoneAlmost half of the American population live in a pollution-infected areas. Roughly 6% live in nearly inhabitable levels. While the months of March-May brought relief to the air, it was short-lived. Air quality continues to rise progressively. In order to improve conditions, drastic fossil fuel emission measures need to take place.

As far as water, conditions are not much better. Americans consume mass amounts of water. Therefore, it’s difficult to keep up with the replenishing rate.  Thankfully, America’s drinking water is considered safe overall. Although, Flint, MI still needs clean water. EPA.gov says you can read about the water quality in your area here.

Our oceans are going through changes. This year’s hurricanes stirred up trash and washed them up on our beaches. Additionally, beaches are slowly receding due to melting glaciers. This year has focused on coral reefs ever since the Great Barrier Reef suffered. You can help clean the oceans at 4ocean.

 

Animals & Plants

While marine wildlife is affected by overfishing and pollution, there is good news: Florida is aiming to help save the turtles! In fact, many coastal states are making way for sea turtles to safely hatch and make their way to the ocean. You can read more about our marine wildlife here.

According to The Wildlife Society, maybe global warming won’t be too disastrous for polar bears. They could evolve to adapt to their warming climate. However, another concern is invasive species. Lakes in Southern USA are strongly encouraging boaters to clean the invasive Zebra Mussels out. Invasive plants

As for the trees and other plants, the increasing awareness of deforestation is encouraging new planting. The American Chestnut tree is making a comeback. Through genetic engineering and planting, the tree will not have to face extinction. Elm trees are re-entering the scene as well.

We can contribute to a better environment by reducing waste. Such as, being conservative with energy and opting for reusable products. In addition, check your state’s parks and wildlife page to adhere to wildlife legal limits. We hope to see better environmental actions in 2021! Check back with our blogs for more information about the environment and energy status.

 

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The Energy Industry Under Biden

Now that we know that Joe Biden will be our new president, we can follow up with our previous blog and take a look at what the energy industry might look like in the next few years. It appears  that Biden plans on battling climate change with clean energy. This blog will continuously update as time and policies progress.

Clean Energy, Clean Economy

According to his own personal website, Biden plans to push for cleaner energy with the Clean Energy Revolution. In this policy, he addresses how the economy relies on the environment. Therefore, his policy will go in a clean economy direction. Specifically, eliminating fuel emissions by 2050. It’ll start by initiating clean energy in environments that need it most. Factories and refineries that heavily pollute the air will have to adapt to cleaner emission policies. Or, revamp into a clean energy facility. Soon, solar and wind energy will take over oil and coal. But, Biden plans to transition out, not completely shut down fossil fuels. It is important to remember the Clean Energy Revolution will be a hefty project. Due to the time and engineering this change requires, there’s time for compromise between Biden and the oil industry.

One of the rising issues in our environment is fracking. In the second debate, Biden claimed to want to put an end to fracking. Currently, fracking is causing tectonic plate problems in Oklahoma and other areas. Oil companies may have to find another way to drill, or restrictions may be placed on fracking.

 

Jobs

Because the policy’s main goal is to transition efficiently, oil & gas-based jobs will be replaced with clean energy jobs. And, the project will create new jobs for the energy industry, too. According to The NY Times, Joe is not sleeping on this- he’s already drafting ideas and plans. His administration is also considering creating a White House branch specifically for climate change. You can read here about what Biden plans to do for the energy industry’s job sector.

 

We hope to see the Biden administration leading the energy industry with care. Clean energy and a clean environment is important to us. But, we understand that many depend on petroleum and coal. With careful innovation and compromise, every factor of the energy industry can prevail under Biden.

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white wind turbines on green grass field under blue and white cloudy sky during daytime

Wind Energy: How It Works

AWEA says, “Wind energy (or wind power) refers to the process of creating electricity using the wind, or air flows that occur naturally in the earth’s atmosphere.” Modern wind turbines capture kinetic energy from the wind. Then, the spinning action generates electricity. This method is renewable and ideal in windy climates. Places such as the Great Plains and coastal areas have them. Read on to find out about the process and the benefits of the wind industry!

 

Wind Energy

Wind turbines are in 40 states. Texas produces the most electricity from its wind farms at around 28,000 MW per year. The wind industry builds wind farms. These contain numerous wind turbines, from around 10 – 500. The average wind farm will have about 150. The largest one is in California, with over 4,000! They are versatile in use. In fact, one home can rely on just one turbine for power. There are three different categories: small power, offshore, and direct. Small power refers to one or two turbines used to power a home/building. On the other hand, direct has the electricity gather at a power grid.

 

white wind mill lot on green field

So, how does wind turn into electricity? First, the turbines are engineered strategically for optimized wind capture. The blades are especially angled a certain way. Ideal wind speed is in between 6-50 MPH. Then, the heavy momentum keeps the blades going, powering the generator. Next, the generator produces electricity that flows to a power grid. Finally, the power grid sends out electricity through distribution lines. These are connected to homes and other buildings.

 

There are a few benefits to wind energy. According to energy.gov, wind power is inexpensive. Over time, wind farms or single-use turbines pay for themselves. Obviously, it’s a renewable resource, so it’s a great alternative to oil and coal. Actually, it’s the largest source of renewable energy. On that note, the wind industry has a great job sector. Such as, a variety of opportunities in engineering.

 

If you want to make a difference in our environment, then consider investing in the wind industry. This clean, renewable energy source won’t pollute the air and is cost-effective. Or, if you live in a remote, windy area, maybe your home needs its own wind turbine.

 

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Solar Power House

Solar Powered Homes and Office Buildings

Solar-powered buildings, such as homes and offices, is a great way to curb environmental damages. Instead of burning through oil, gas, and electricity to generate power, there’s a much more sustainable method. Huge panes placed on the roof absorb sunlight then store that energy until someone turns the light switch on. They work best in sunny environments, but can work in cloudy climates as well. There is enough solar power in the United States to power approximately 16.1 million homes.

Solar powered homes work best in a community together, where the rays absorb into everyone’s solar panels and reduce electricity flow into the neighborhood. Solar panels are installed on the roof onto rafters, placed 4 feet apart. Then, it connects to your electricity supply, converting the solar energy into DC current. It powers your lights, heating/AC, and all electrical appliances. There is an option to purchase panels with batteries in case a storm causes a power outage.

Why Solar Panels?

Panels work better because industrial generators do not have to deplete more non-renewable resources to produce a large amount of power for a certain area. It will thus produce less harmful greenhouse gases, improving our atmosphere and air quality. Another advantage is lower electricity bill. You could even get credit if you take in more power than you use. Thanks to the panel grid’s ability to store the energy, you can power your home when it is dark outside. For multiple-story buildings, this could help you save hundreds every year. It takes a great deal of electricity to cool down upper-level floors, so if you live in a hot climate, think about investing in solar panels. Depending on the situation, you could even qualify for tax exemptions. Save your money and the planet!

If more office buildings, homes, and schools used solar panels, it could hopefully produce a domino effect so that nearby areas started using them too. Awareness of alternative energy options will hopefully encourage people to be more environmentally conscious. Thus, light a spark to push for greener practices. Read more about the advantages of solar panels on an individual and community level here.

 

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Energy Footprint

How To Reduce Your Energy Use

It’s the hottest time of the year. The electric bill skyrockets as we try to keep cool in the near 100 degree weather. While you should always not waste energy resources, now is the best time to reduce energy use. This is because the heat makes your appliances work harder, using even more energy, and run the risk of overheating. This includes running the AC on high. Thus, your electricity bill increases even more so. Also, heat worsens air pollution. We recommend at the very least to reduce your energy use during peak heat hours of the day, between 3-6 PM. The smallest effort could lead to a lower electricity bill and cleaner air.

 

How you can make a difference

Start by turning off lights and unplugging unused chargers and electronics. To reduce energy consumption during peak hours, avoid doing laundry, cooking, or driving. Even turning the temp up a degree or two will help. If there’s any rooms in the house not being used, close the vent and the door. You can use the heat to your advantage- instead of using the dryer, hang your clothes outside to dry. Dryers can eat up a lot of electricity and would only make your laundry room hotter. If you must go out for the day, try to schedule it either before or after the hours of 3-6 PM. This is to help reduce CO2 emissions being cooked into the air. It’s also easier on your car and you wind up saving a little bit of gas.

 

While limiting energy consumption is important during peak hours of the day, consider making it a habit to be more energy-conscious overall. For example, turn off or lower the air when leaving your home for more than an hour. If you have a garage/outdoor freezer, make sure it’s not in the hottest spot, or consider bringing it inside. Influence your peers to make more energy-saving decisions as well. It takes a community to lower air pollution and electricity usage.

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solar

COVID-19’s Impact on Solar Power

America has been running on gas, coal, and electricity for about the past 150 years. Electricity is a great source of power, but gas can be dangerous and not as renewable as solar power. Solar power is becoming increasingly popular due to its sustainability. It’s the most eco-efficient way to power your home or your phone as it produces no negative effects on the environment.

COVID-19’s impact on solar industry has not been too kind. Due to less government funding and less production, solar power investment is not as prevalent. SEIA claims that COVID-19 will take away about 5 years worth of progress. Due to the economy, commercial and private purchases have slowed. As a result, Connecticut and Idaho are being hit the hardest, with 60% of solar workers being laid off.

A New Hope

However, they hope to make a strong comeback by enforcing long-term policies. These policies will bring on new projects, creating more jobs. Influential people are writing to Congress, advocating for more money and emphasis for solar power. With the virus posing as an obstacle, solar engineers and business workers understand that this will be a slow year for them. However, they also understand that many Americans are becoming aware of the harmful effects of coal and are opting to switch to solar. They focus on the long-term goal of solar power being the dominant source of energy. They hope that in 10-15 years, gas and coal will be phased out.

Solar Strikes Back

Using solar power for your home can greatly reduce your electricity bill, reduce chances of a power outage, and cool down your home overall. Solar powering works best in the southern states, like in sunny Florida. However, they work in cloudier climates too. Panels are being engineered to improve sunlight reception through clouds. As of 2019, 12.3 million homes have solar panels on them. They’re great for office buildings, especially skyscrapers that are more exposed to the sun. More than half of Americans say that they would switch to solar immediately if they could recover their investment in 5 years. Thankfully, overall prices of solar have dropped 70% in the past 10 years. With ongoing solar engineering and better funding, the solar industry could very well strike back and shine once again!

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Energy Background

Energy Conferences 2020

Our source of power and fuel is a world of its own that keeps ours going. Thousands of business opportunities stem from oil, solar energy, and more. To learn how, become involved by going to energy conferences. If you’re new to the energy industry, you can attend a conference regarding all energy sources. These events can be one-day or could go on for two or three days. As a result, you can join important networks and solidify your own business. Unfortunately, bigger events like major annual workshops have to wait until next year. But smaller conventions are still available.

This September, The Energy Exposition is a great networking opportunity for a broad audience. Pros gather to lecture about energy and its link to technology. This event is ideal for beginners. Afterwards, you can also go golfing in the Wyoming hills with fellow attendees.

Wondering about the environment’s relationship with our energy resources? Advanced Clean Energy Summit (ACES) in Denver, Colorado can answer your questions and help you get more involved. It will be held in September.

Oil & Gas Conferences

Interstate Oil & Gas Compact Commission is hosting its Annual Conference in Houston, TX. This November, you can be part of the discussion. It will be about oil & gas regulations in each state.

Oklahoma’s official oil & gas chamber will have their Petroleum Alliance Annual Meeting. As representatives, they will listen to their clients and evolve accordingly. To prove that they care about their attendees, there will also be a banquet.

Want to invest in oil and/or water? Oilfield Water USA will be holding Invest & Manage 2020 in Houston. It is scheduled for December. Hear proposals for cleaner water and oil retrieval. Also, familiarize yourself with the environmental and business aspects.

Four Corners Oil & Gas 2020 Conference this October in New Mexico will provide learning and business opportunities. The indoor and outdoor exhibits will take the full two days to take everything in.

Wind & Solar

Learn more about wind energy at AWEA’s Offshore WindPower Conference at the NY Grand Hyatt. This October, the focus will be on how to proceed with transitioning from oil to wind as America’s dominate power source.

Nebraska Wind & Solar is hosting an exhibition & conference in November. It will be a two-day event. This will provide plenty of time to hear out presenters. Afterwards, go by their booth for further discussion.

This November in Atlanta, Solar Industries Association invites guests to attend the Solar and Energy Storage Southeast. This event will cover policies, business strategies, and operation methods.

North America Smart Energy Week is dedicated to improving solar energy. Also, other easily renewable energy sources will be discussed as well. This October, allies of solar power will brainstorm and network in Las Vegas.

To attend energy conferences, check the web for more info. Many have networking breakfasts and dinners. Golfing and mixers can be included. Most events require that you register in advance, so make sure you don’t miss the deadline!

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