What do former vice president and environmental activist Al Gore and Texas oil man T. Boone Pickens have in common? Both believe the U.S. should cut back on its dependence on foreign oil and that the government needs to stop pussyfooting around on issues of greener energy, particularly wind power.
Forbes website, recentlyreported that GE Energy is the leading wind turbine manufacturer in North America and that it is sold clean out of turbines until 2010, thanks in part to Pickens recent order of 667 turbines for his massive wind farm in the Texas panhandle. Pickens, with his privately funded project, has publicly called for the U.S. to generate 20% of its electricity from wind power within 10 years. While Gore set a more audacious goal that the country should eliminate its use of carbon-based fuel within the same timeline. According to Forbes, wind currently accounts for less than 1% of the U.S. electric power.
Still GE says its possible to meet Pickens goal and points to places like the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, where scientists have improved blade design, increased efficiency in the transfer of energy into electricity and improved gearboxes that attach the turbines to the shaft.
Still experts in the green energy field say no matter how good the technology is, without a “national push” nothing major can change.