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Clean Power

Published on February 9th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

17

Fun With Numbers…

February 9th, 2013 by  


Here’s some number fun from one of our readers that we thought was worth sharing. The topic is: “how much land we would need for a massive wind program to power 40% of the US.

Wind turbine in meadow via Shutterstock

The footprint of a wind turbine is typically around 0.25 acres. This includes the tower foundation, roads, and support structures.

In 2010, the US used 4,143 TWh of electricity (or 11,300,000 MWh per day).

Since we’re just guessing what our future grid would look like, let’s assume we get 40% of our electricity from wind; 40% from solar; and 20% from hydro, geothermal, tidal, etc.

4,143 TWh / 365 * 40% = 4,540 MWh per day from wind.

The average wind turbine is around 3 MW and median capacity is now 43%.

3 x 24 hours x 0.43 = 30.1 MWh per day

4,520,000 / 30.1 = 150,166 3MW turbines.

150,166 x 0.25 = 36,040 acres required.

So, a massive wind power program would require 2.4 Manhattan Islands, 1.4 Disney Worlds, or 0.0015% of the US
 





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About the Author

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species). He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. He's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession and Solar Love. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, and Canada. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in. But he offers no professional investment advice and would rather not be responsible for you losing money, so don't jump to conclusions.



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