Essay: Windmills as a Source of Green Power in Hawaii

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Windmills as a Source of Green Power for Hawaii

We must remember that not all resources are renewable. Renewable resources are those defined as resources that can, through natural processes, be replaced regularly (for instance, oxygen in the atmosphere is produced by the earth's plants; water is typically replaced through weather patterns, and historically, many food resources were considered to be renewable (a balance of resources were taken per year so that the offspring would replace those used.) Nonrenewable resources, however, are finite, and not replaceable within a realistic time frame (e.g. natural gas, coal, etc.). It is interesting to note that many so-called renewable resources can also move into the category of non-renewable due to overuse (overfishing, deforestation, loss of ground water, etc.). (Khanna, 2003).

The Turning Point -- Transition to Renewable Energy -- The bleak reality is that the age of oil has dominated global energy needs for the past century. This has caused a number of social, cultural, and economic issues. While there may be enough oil to last fifty to one-hundred years, the ecological consequences of doing so would change the entire sphere of quality of life and health issues. It is thus necessary from an economic and ecological perspective to transition to renewable energy sources; after all, the same technological revolution and expertise that has so transformed the Internet and global communication paradigm can also change the way humans use and store wind, biomass, and solar energy -- which are 6,000 times more abundant on an annual basis than fossil fuels (WorldWatch Institute, intro). The 21st century must become a move away from fossile fuels, much as the 20th century was shaped by them. The computer chip market proved that conventional markets can shift quickly and decisively as lifestyles and market demand changes. It often seems that people vote with their pocketbooks, and if fossil-fuel prices rise enough, the impetus to change will likely increase.

Summary of Renewable Energy Resources - By definition, a renewable energy resource is one that can be constantly used because it replenshishes itself. For instance, wind power, solar power, geothermal energy, hydropower, bioenergy, wave (ocean) energy all are renewable but have not been developed enough yet because of the historical use of inexpensive fossil fuels. Wind power, of course, has been used for centuries to power sailing vessels, windmills, etc., but the idea of modern wind power is a manner in which the energy produced by the movement of the wind is turned into power (electricity) using a propeller like turbine. Currently, wind-power is on the rise, especially in Europe, but still only produces 1% of the world's electricity. It is inexpensive, even the turbines, relative to the output, however, to be effective, a large amount of real estate is necessary to provide adequate room for the propeller transports (Matthew, 2006). For instance, wind power is utilized much more in Europe than the United States, mostly out of perception and willing ness to invest.

Windpower for Hawaii -- Because of the location of Hawaii along the path of numerous trade wind patterns, it is an ideal location to open wind farms and product electricity for the islands (See Appendix A). The interisland Wind project, for instance, proposed to connect up to 400 megawatts of energy from Molokai and Lanai to Oahu using an undersea cable. This is only one part of the Hawaii Clean Energy Incentive of 70% of the Islands' energy needs using clean energy by 2030. In addition, there is a 30 megawatt farm being built on Oahu's North Shore, a project in partnership with the Federal Government's Department of… [END OF PREVIEW]

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