Global Wind Energy Expansion: Gauging Vulnerabilities to Climate Change
Teeters, Eric Joseph
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Global demand for low emission renewable energy production continues to intensify. Wind turbine power plants, which harness the kinetic energy from wind to generate electricity, continue to proliferate due to the technology’s high scalability, ease of deployment, capacity for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, ability to diversify energy portfolios, and for meeting world energy demands. Herein a review is conducted of the investments being made in wind energy technologies by the United States of America, the European Union, the People’s Republic of China, and the Republic of India. As technology advances Geographic Information Systems are being utilized to quantify the wind resources in a given region and to locate the best possible sites for wind energy development. Many renewable energy technologies, including wind energy, are dependent on many factors of which climatic conditions are essential. As the climate changes, the wind resource is vulnerable to positively or negatively change on a regional basis and as such the total electricity output from wind turbines could be directly impacted. As the investment in renewable energies has become a determining factor in the adaptation and mitigation of climate change, in addition to addressing rising global energy demands, it is necessary for future wind siting assessments to consider how a changing climate may jeopardize the continued exploitation of wind energy and the security of investments.