There is an interesting fact about Colorado that many do not know; it is one of the leaders in wind energy research and development.
How do I know this? Well, it’s all around me. As I look out my office window, I see the wind turbines spinning in the distance at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory about 5 miles from me. Looking towards the train tracks, I see the cars carrying massive blades out for installation rolling by, an almost everyday occurrence. When I drive north to see friends, I pass by manufacturers of wind energy components, and finally the wind farms themselves, standing as monuments to science, clean energy, and technological innovation. And to see it all, from research to install, is an amazing site every day.
And with all of this renewable energy around me, I figured it was time for me to actually understand what wind energy is and how its impacting me daily. I mean as I receive my bill every month, I have never thought about where my energy is coming from or how it’s impacting the environment, but more on how I can get that bill down. But I know I need to do more, to be more aware of the source, and to do my part. So, through working with my local energy provider, Xcel Energy, and other research, I’ve learned some amazing advantages to wind power.
It’s a clean fuel source. Wind energy doesn’t pollute the air like power plants that rely on combustion of fossil fuels, such as coal or natural gas. Wind turbines don’t produce atmospheric emissions that cause acid rain or greenhouse gasses.
Wind energy is a domestic source of energy. The nation’s wind supply is abundant: over the past 10 years, cumulative wind power capacity in the United States increased an average of 30% per year, outpacing the 28% growth rate in worldwide capacity.
It’s sustainable. Wind is actually a form of solar energy; winds are caused by the heating of the atmosphere by the sun, the rotation of the earth, and the earth’s surface irregularities. This is an endless cycle (despite what some politicians may think), and as long as the sun shines and the wind blows, the energy produced can be harnessed to send power across the grid.
Wind turbines can be built on exhisting farms or ranches. Being is Colorado and surrounded by ranches and farms, I think this is amazing. Rural areas are where most of the best wind sites are found. Wind power plant owners make rent payments to the farmer or rancher for the use of the land providing landowners with additional income.
So this is amazing and all, so how do I do my part? Well, I never thought I would say it, but my energy company has the solution. Here I was thinking I would need to install a big turbine in my backyard to reap the benefits (it is still an option Xcel – Have your people call my people, I don’t think the HOA will mind), but instead there is Windsource® from Xcel Energy. This new and innovative program enables Xcel Energy’s electric customers in Colorado, Minnesota, New Mexico, Wisconsin and Michigan to purchase renewable energy, generated above and beyond the renewable energy in the standard energy supply. Now, that’s a pretty awesome feeling, to be able to pick and choose where my energy is coming from, to help make the impact and know my money is going back into further development of what I see every day. And while I will still be looking at ways to get my bill down, I will feel better knowing I am signed up for Xcel Energy Windsouce® and using wind energy for my daily power use.
So here I am, a new customer and advocate for wind energy. Don’t get me wrong, I love other alternative renewable solutions as well, but I can’t help but be amazed by the wind power programs and what they stand for in terms of our energy future. I may be a small fish in the sea of energy, but every step counts in the change.
Disclaimer: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Xcel Energy. The opinions and text are all mine.