On June 15, 2012 children across the United States gazed into the sky, their eyes following kites as they twisted and dipped in the wind. In Greece, children and adults painted pictures representing the invisible but powerful force, and in India, Austria, Russia and Germany people biked and ran in support of the magnificent, and often underappreciated, power of wind. These are only a few examples of the activities organized during last year’s celebration of Global Wind Day, a worldwide event coordinated by the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA) and the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC).
The first Global Wind Day was organized as a European holiday in 2007, but was expanded globally in 2009. Last year, more than 230 events were organized in 40 countries, ranging from tours of wind farms to video and photo contests intended to gather a collection of testimonials of the world’s growing love for wind power.
But why is the world becoming increasingly enamored with wind power? “Because it’s free, it’s good for the environment, it provides jobs, and it will never run out,” states the Global Wind Day website. Wind is a valuable resource because it provides a clean source of renewable energy that produces no air or water pollution. Although the capital to produce wind turbines costs money, wind is free, making for extremely low operational costs following the construction of a turbine.
More than 75 countries around the world are home to operational wind turbines and wind farms. The largest of these turbines can generate enough electricity to supply almost 600 U.S. homes with electricity. Small turbines, on the other hand, can be used to power a single house or business. As of last quarter, the U.S. wind industry totaled 60,007 MW of cumulative wind capacity, with more than 45,100 turbines. In 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generating capacity, providing 42% of all new generating capacity. Industry experts predict that if industry growth continues at its current rate, one third of the world’s electricity needs will be supplied by renewable wind energy by 2050.
The proliferation of renewable sources of energy might be the indication of a world which is moving in a more environmentally-friendly direction, and wind power is leading the way both in financial viability and environmental benefits. One 750 kW wind turbine saves enough greenhouse gases to fill a football stadium over 40 times. With over 45,100 turbines installed in the U.S. alone, significant changes can be made in the nation’s environmental footprint.
On June 15, the world will show its support for this rising source of power. From flash mobs to human representations of wind turbines, the creative gestures of love for wind power mirrors the innovative solutions the world is finding to address global concerns about traditional sources of energy.