Saudi Arabia of Wind
During the current struggle for independence from fossil fuels and foreign sources of oil for energy consumption, the United States is pursuing channels of growth involving alternative sources of energy such as wind power.
|Some energy experts and industry leaders in the U.S. are looking to the region known as the U.S. great plains as a possible gold mine (or wind mine) to tap into an unending source of wind power.|
Formerly known for its agricultural might, the Great Plains is now being called by some “The Saudi Arabia of wind.”
Untapped Resources Waiting To Be Used
It has been estimated that in the state of North Dakota, which was dubbed the Saudi Arabia of Wind several years ago, has the capacity to produce over a billion kilowatt hours of electrical energy. That is enough wind power to produce one quarter of the electrical needs of the entire United States. Since then other states in the U. S. Midwest are also included in the geographical moniker “Saudi Arabia of Wind” from North Dakota south to Texas (see wind map below). You can just for yourself from the Wind Map on this page which states should be included in the Saudi Arabia of Wind.
The Power Is There But How To Get It Out On The Grid?
But, let’s keep talking about North Dakota a bit. Since 2009, planning and development has been underway to build a 345 kilowatt transmission line to get the captured wind power out of North Dakota and deliver it to the rest of the U.S. Stretching for 270 miles, it’s a project that’s been in the planning stages for decades. In the early stages political, legal and economic roadblocks were in the way. An initial study released plans that showed four potential routes for the line to take. At first there was some concern that there might be objections because utilizing private land was included in the plans. But then issues were resolved and government and business leaders became united in the cause.
Being in the Saudi Arabia of Wind has not come without its share of headaches. The Trans-Dakota line, as it is called, has had some hiccups as planning and development has progressed. One concern that land owners have is the issue of what are called “wind rights.” Because of the sheer vastness of space that would be taken up by the line, if landowners allow the line or it’s wind turbines on their land, there might not be enough space for them to lease their land to other wind developers in the future.
As an example: The space between wind turbines must be at least 2,000 feet, to utilize the wind properly and for safety reasons. So for some land owners who allow the transmission line to cross their property, they may not have the future right to have wind turbines on their land. In addition to the spatial problems, there is a money problem in the eyes of the land owners. The developers of the project are offering land owners one-time payments in exchange for the use of their land. But the land owners feel that if they live in the Saudi Arabia of wind, they should get a share in the annual profits, not just a one-time payoff.
Wind May Be an Answer but May Have to Be Combined With Other Solutions
Wind power does have great promise in the U.S. and elsewhere. But everyone is coming to agreement that it’s not the perfect solution and one and only means for generating electricity. New studies have shown that although wind power can generate massive amounts of power, not all the wind blowing at any point at any time can be recovered and converted to energy. This is where new storage methods such as hydrogen or advanced battery systems or even hot salt thermal storage come in. It may take some time to figure out how to effectively deploy and utilize wind energy to its fullest, but the solution for now is to build, baby, build. We’ll figure out the rest as we go.