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Windmills of My Mind

Actually the modern term is “wind turbines” but “windmills” is more iconic. Whatever you call them, the age-old idea is still the same: use nature’s energy to our benefit. Wind and solar power are most green and greatly outperform any fossil fuel. Unfortunately, last year those sectors supplied less than 5 percent of the nation’s electricity.

Wind turbines can be as tall as a 20-story building and have three 200-foot-long blades. Looking like giant propellers on a stick, the wind spins the blades which turns a shaft connected to a generator that produces the electricity. The biggest ones can generate enough electricity to supply about 600 U.S. homes. Wind “farms” have tens or even hundreds of turbines lined up together.

You can put smaller turbines in your backyard and produce enough electricity to power your home. Wind is a clean source of renewable energy, producing no air or water pollution. Home turbines are not necessarily cheap but once in place, they are free to operate since there is no charge for wind. There are also government tax incentives to offset the initial investment. This is another perfect example of going green and saving green [money]!

According to National Geographic, experts predict that by 2050 one third of the world’s electricity needs will be met with wind power.

Teach your kids about wind turbines. Get one of those old-fashioned pinwheels and hold it in the wind. It will spin in the same way a turbine does. Now, spin the pinwheel by hand. Explain how the wind is doing the work instead of your hand which saves your power. Then you can tie it back to being clean and green.

Every hour the sun sends enough energy to Earth to satisfy world energy needs for an entire year. We are familiar with the technology that can charge calculators or the panels we can see on rooftops but unfortunately only one tenth of one percent of the world’s energy demand is met this way.

You can put panels on your roof which collect the sun’s power and stores it in battery cells. You can also put water-filled tubes on your roof or in your yard which can supply your home’s hot water needs.

Teaching your kids about the power of the sun can be as easy as showing them an ice cube melting on the sidewalk or by standing in the sun on a cool day and pointing out how much warmer it is than in the shade.

Pollution and noise free, solar energy is and endless fuel source which needs to be more widely used.

The first quarter of this year proved to be a 20-year low in U.S. carbon emissions according to the Energy Information Administration. They credit three factors for this decline. A mild winter, reduced demand for gasoline and a drop in coal-fired electricity generation came together to give the environment a slight break. These are passive components in a lucky combination. There is no real credit to the government.

Increasing utilization of wind and solar power is a real answer.