The latest IRI Future Energy "enews" edition (Thomas Valone - Integrity Research Institute) states the following:
"When countries like Ireland and the UK decide to build hundreds of 3 MW windmills offshore (see below), some of us start thinking about how many such free energy machines are needed for the entire US energy needs. "
This exercise is interesting, but I cannot believe IRI was serious when endorsing a Manhattan Project type effort to advance windmill technology and build wind turbines! Here are the calculations for US Electrical Energy Independence only, for your enjoyment:
"US ELECTRICAL ENERGY: Addressing the US total electrical energy consumption annually, the DOE/EIA states it is about 4 trillion kWh. Converting it to simple wattage by dividing by hours in a year, we find the total US electrical generation power needs to be about 450 thousand MW. Dividing by 3 MW per windmill, we find that the US needs a little more than 150,000 windmills to supply all of its electricity. A square mile hold about 60 mills, so about 2500 square miles or 50 miles x 50 miles is all the space that is needed. Furthermore, with the capital cost of $4.3 million per windmill, only $650 billion total expenditure is required to for the US to become ELECTRICALLY INDEPENDENT of fossil fuels! Over ten years, this amounts to an investment of only $65 billion per year, or about $18/month per person in the US for ten years. (Note this dollar amount just happens to be about the same as the UK estimate above per household.)". (end quote)
Numbers for US Total Energy Independence are also presented (they are 6.5 times higher) in the e-news letter. The conclusion is that total energy independence is possible with today's available windmill technology. IRI endorses a national program to end fossil fuel usage and suggests that a couple thousand windmills could be installed off the coast of major cities around the US, also minimizing distribution losses.
I have also seen similar calculations for supplying America's energy needs with solar power only. These numbers are speculative and they do not account for other aspects related to the inherent limitations of wind and solar power generation technology.
Indeed, the US Energy Association states in their policy recommendations, Toward a National Energy Strategy, that "Investment in energy technology...should focus on energy sources that can realistically expect to have a significant impact in meeting US energy needs over the next 20 to 30 years." Some called for an "Apollo Project" type effort (Natural Resources Defense Council in their Ending America's Oil Dependence report), and other called it a Manhattan Project.
No matter haw you call it, to mount a national effort and put billions of dollars in windmill technology is absurd when we are so advanced in extracting clean, nonpolluting energy for peanuts directly from the vacuum that would be available day and night, at any place in the world, windy or not, and most importantly, everywhere in space, allowing us to start on the path of our destiny and become real space explorers, at last!
Why are we not demanding Tom Bearden's proposal for a Manhattan type project (see The Unnecessary Energy Crisis: How to Solve it Quickly posting on this site)?