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HARVEST THE WIND by Philip Warburg

HARVEST THE WIND

America's Journey to Jobs, Energy Independence, and Climate Stability

By Philip Warburg

Pub Date: April 17th, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-8070-0107-3
Publisher: Beacon

Warburg believes that that collaboration between the government and the private sector can make wind power a major source of energy for the generation of power in the United States.

An attorney specializing in environmental law who served as president of the Conservation Law Foundation from 2003 to 2009, the author has been a committed environmentalist for more than 40 years. Warburg makes the case that with this “inexhaustible domestic energy resource,” America can finally demonstrate a willingness to lead the international fight for climate stability. He reports on recent travels through the U.S. and in Denmark. where he met with “farmers, ranchers, shop owners, truckers, crane operators and more,” whose lives have been improved by the new technology. He also visited large and small-scale wind farms, on land and offshore. While Warburg admits that wind power still presents serious problems for the environment—the turbines are responsible for the death of thousands of birds, the noise they produce can disturb neighboring residential communities, etc.—he is optimistic that these will be resolved and that the benefits of the new technology exceed the costs. At present, Danish investors are the leaders in turbine production. They outsource assembly production to China and the U.S., which rank first and second respectively in annual installations. The author writes that while American companies are only beginning to compete, they recognize that this is “the next big strategic bet.” Citing a 2011 government report, Warburg estimates that Kansas alone could supply 90 percent of the nation's present power consumption with the installation of a sufficient number wind turbines. In 2010, seven percent of the state's energy needs have been met by wind power, providing up to $50,000 annually to farmers.

Although Warburg summarily dismisses the potential of solar energy as a major part of the clean-energy mix, his arguments about wind power are balanced and informative.