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    Power to the People

    Energizing the 21st century grid

    U.S. cities are already burning plenty of midnight oil--showing up as some of the most widely illuminated places on Earth. But that output is only bound to intensify over the coming decades.

    Over the next 30+ years, the population of the U.S. is expected to increase by over 100 million persons. (By comparison, Europe and Japan will lose 15 million people.) Not coincidentally, the majority of that population growth (~66%) will be in the 20 megapolitan areas identified by Dr. Robert Lang.

    According to International Energy Agency the U.S. electrical grid generated about 4,148 terawatt-hours (TWh) in 2004. By 2030, total U.S. output will rise more than 42% to 5,913 TWh. That's a lot of juice.

    The Wall Street Journal ran an article on March 12, 2007, describing how renewable energy, specifically wind energy, will play into that. The newspaper ran the following breakdown:

    Energy Source .....2004 .....2030
    Coal .....50% .....53%
    Nuclear .....20% ..... 16%
    Gas ..... 18% ..... 16%
    Hyrdo .....7% ..... 5%
    Oil .....3% ..... 2%
    Renewable .....2% (14% wind) .....8% (44% wind)

    See that last line. That's a huge increase in the amount of wind energy generation capacity over the next two and half decades. Big energy companies are looking to get in on this surge, and wind energy is becoming big business, witness the American Wind Energy Association in D.C. .:.


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