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We tend to think of wind power as a modern phenomenon, but societies have been using it for energy for thousands of years. Using the wind to pilot ships has been around for ages, as have windmills for food production. In the U.S. in the 19th century, windmills were used in farming and ranching to pump water for irrigation. The U.S. Department of Energy has a neat little history lesson here

Fast-forwarding to today, high demand for renewable sources, advances in technology, and economies of scale are combining to make wind power more popular than ever. Prices for large-scale wind power dropped 40% between 2008 and 2016. Windy states are generating record amounts of energy from this source. In the first half of 2019, for instance, wind power produced more energy than coal in Texas, totaling 22% of the state’s electricity, according to industry magazine Windpower Monthly. Indeed, Texas has installed more wind capacity than any other state, at 24.2 gigawatts. The next closest state is Iowa at 8.3 gigawatts, though with a smaller population it has actually become the first state to generate more than 30% of its power via wind (source). 

As for Colorado, Xcel Energy is planning to move to 100% renewables, company-wide, by 2050. This means closing down their coal-fired plants in the state, as well as developing large-scale renewable projects, like the 380-megawatt project slated to be built next year in Weld County. And Platte River Power Authority is building a 150-megawatt project along the Colorado-Wyoming border.

 

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