Worldwide wind power capacity grows
Worldwide wind power capacity increased nearly 32% last year, and the output from wind was enough to cover the electricity consumption of Australia and Ireland combined, according to a newly released International Energy Agency (IEA) report. Seventy percent of the world’s wind capacity was operating in IEA Wind member countries, where installed capacity grew by 20.3 GW. With more than 111 GW of generating capacity, electrical production from wind met 2.5% of the total electrical demand in reporting countries. In the 2009 IEA Wind Annual Report, member countries report on recent progress in deploying wind energy, how they benefitted from it, and what strategies they are devising to increase wind’s contribution to the world’s energy supply.
Central U.S. winds show promise as an energy resource
This U.S. wind-capacity map shows predicted mean annual wind speeds at an 80-m height with a spatial resolution of 2.5 km. Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 m/sec and greater are generally considered suitable for wind development. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Boulder, Colo., has conducted a preliminary review and validation of AWS Truewind’s 80-m map estimates for 19 selected states based on tower measurements at heights of about 50 m and above from more than 300 locations. The central third of the U.S. seems to offer the greatest wind speeds.
EPA seeks input on new fuel-economy labels
The EPA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are updating fuel-economy labels to provide consumers with simple energy and environmental comparisons across vehicles types, including electric, plug-in hybrid electric, and conventional gas and diesel vehicles. The agencies are using new information, such as ratings on fuel economy and various air pollutants, on labels as required by the Energy Independence and Security Act (EISA) of 2007. New labels will appear on 2012 model year vehicles. To offer feedback on the design shown here, send comments to newlabels@ epa.gov.