Congress and the Administration are touting alternative energy sources to replace power production derived from foreign oil. They want to generate 10 percent to 20 percent of the U.S. energy needs from alternative sources.
Most of the alternative energy would have to be generated from wind power systems. If we assume 10 percent of the U.S. energy requirements consists of 100,000 megawatts, and each wind turbine produces approximately 2 to 3 megawatts, it will take about 40,000 wind turbines to produce the 100,000 megawatts.
The siting of 40,000 wind turbines around the country could be a monumental task since an average wind speed of about 12 mph is needed to efficiently operate a wind turbine. Hilltops, mountains, canyons and some coastlines are candidate locations for the wind machines, but these locations pose logistical, noise and aesthetic obstacles. The generation of power from the wind turbines is dependent on weather conditions, and we all know how unpredictable and varied the weather can be. Furthermore, we would need an electrical grid system spread out around the country to tie in the wind turbines to the national grid.
Approximately 50 nuclear power plants with two units per site providing a total of 2000 megawatts per site, will generate 100,000 megawatts of clean, reliable, operationally cost effective and continuous power.
Nuclear power plants, domestic oil production, wind energy systems and other alternative energy sources are all viable components of a comprehensive energy program.
Donald A. Moskowitz
The Pennsylvania State University
Class of 63