Top 4 States for Wind Energy
There's a lot of good news about wind energy these days.
Costs keep falling. The sector keeps putting more and more people to work. And growing numbers of cities, states, countries and companies around the world are embracing wind as a powerful tool to cut emissions and create a sustainable future.
We even published an e-book about wind energy last year to share some incredible facts about wind power because it's such a win-win-win: good for our climate, good for our health and good for keeping the lights on.
But here's a fact you might not know. Just four states account for more than half of the wind electricity generation in the U.S.
Pretty shocking, right?
Let's dive in.
Wow. Everything really is bigger in Texas. The Lone Star State produces and consumes more energy overall than any other state in the country — in fact, its electricity production is double that of Florida, the next closest state.
Still, it's beyond impressive to see that the state accounted for more than 25 percent of the country's wind electricity generation in each of the past three years.
Wind also generated 22 percent of the state's electrical needs as of July 2019: notably, edging out coal (21 percent, as of July 2019, of the state's power). And just to show how quickly energy transition can happen with the right policies, this is a far cry from 2003 when wind made up just 0.8 percent of the Lone Star state's power.
Plus, Texas ranks first in the country for both installed and under-construction wind capacity — and supports more than 25,000 wind-related jobs.
Way to go, Oklahoma! The bulk of Oklahoma's power generation for decades was from natural gas and coal, but in 2016 wind surpassed coal-fired generation in the state for the first time. And in 2018, wind energy provided 31.7 percent of all in-state electricity production.
Plus, Oklahoma's incredible wind resource also provides economic development — it supported more than 7,000 direct jobs in 2018.
Iowa's also a big FAN of wind energy (get it? We're so sorry). In fact the Hawkeye State has almost doubled its wind generation since 2011. Wind provided 34 percent of total electricity generation in Iowa in 2018, putting the state second in the nation for wind energy as a share of total electricity generation. It produces more power than it consumes, and sends a surplus to nearby states.
Iowa also ranks second in the nation for installed capacity with more than 10,100 MW of wind online, And as of 2018, Iowa is home to more than 9,000 wind industry jobs.
Rounding out the list is Kansas. Wind turbines accounted for 36 percent of the electricity generated in Kansas in 2018 — a larger share than any other state — reflecting a fivefold increase since just 2010. Wind energy is also only just slightly lagging behind coal, which makes up 39 percent of generated electricity in the state.
In 2018, developers installed 543 megawatts of new wind generation in Kansas, according to a new U.S. Department of Energy study.
What You Can Do
Are you looking for ways to make a difference and be part of the movement for renewable energy?
Our upcoming Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in San Antonio, Texas (the top producer of wind energy in the country!), is a good place to start. As a Climate Reality Leader, you'll join a network of more than 20,000 like-minded activists working to share the science of what's happening to our planet and secure the safe, sustainable tomorrow we all deserve.
We can't remain silent in the fight against the climate crisis. Learn more about a training today.
As we like to say: Give us three days. We'll give you the tools to change the world.
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By Kristen Fischer
It's going to be back-to-school time soon, but will children go into the classrooms?
The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) thinks so, but only as long as safety measures are in place.
Keeping Schools Safe<p>What will safer schools look like?</p><p>In a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jama/fullarticle/2766822" target="_blank">JAMA article</a> published last month, <a href="https://www.jhsph.edu/faculty/directory/profile/1781/joshua-m-sharfstein" target="_blank">Dr. Joshua Sharfstein</a>, a pediatrician and professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, outlined suggestions — many of which are similar to AAP's.</p><p>Remote learning protocols must stay in place, especially as some schools stagger home and in-building learning. If another shutdown needs to occur, children will rely on distance learning completely, so it must be easy to switch to, he said.</p><p>He suggested giving parents a daily checklist to document their child's health. Kids should be screened quickly on arrival and be given hygiene supplies. Maintenance staff should use appropriate PPE and have regular cleaning schedules. A notification system should be in place if a case is identified, Sharfstein recommended.</p><p><a href="https://www.albany.edu/rockefeller/faculty/erika-martin" target="_blank">Erika Martin</a>, PhD, an associate professor of public administration and policy at University at Albany, said nutrition assistance and health services should be included. She called for tutoring programs with virtual options as well as technology access.</p>
Supporting Staff<p>Teachers and staff will be affected by safeguarding measures, noted <a href="https://directory.sph.umn.edu/bio/sph-a-z/rachel-widome" target="_blank">Rachel Widome</a>, PhD, an associate professor of epidemiology and community health at University of Minnesota.</p><p>"In order for all of the in-school precautions to work well, we'll be asking a lot of teachers and staff," Widome told Healthline. In addition to their usual workload, they'll now be asked to monitor mask-wearing, ensure children are keeping distance, and be aware of any symptoms.</p><p>Along with Sharfstein, Widome called for an increase in financial support. More employees will likely be required so teachers and staff members can keep up with the added demands.</p>
Should Kids Go Back?<p>While these guidelines may help get some schools to reopen, many people don't think children should go back to school over fears they could contract the disease and spread it to other vulnerable family members like grandparents, infant siblings, or their parents.</p><p>In a <a href="https://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/early/2020/07/08/peds.2020-004879" target="_blank">Pediatrics</a> commentary, <a href="https://www.md.com/doctor/william-raszka-md" target="_blank">Dr. William V. Raszka, Jr.</a>, an infectious disease specialist at The University of Vermont Medical Center, argued that schools should open because school-aged children are far less important drivers of COVID-19 than adults.</p><p>But he says the risk and benefit is not equal among all students ages 5 to 18.</p><p>"Elementary schools are arguably higher priority for face-to-face schooling, since younger children are at lower risk for infection and transmission, and since parental supervision of younger children's distance learning may be particularly challenging," added Sorensen, who penned a <a href="https://jamanetwork.com/channels/health-forum/fullarticle/2767411" target="_blank">June article in JAMA</a> with reopening tips. "That means middle and high schools are more likely to emphasize distance learning."</p><p>Specific student populations, such as special education students and students with disabilities, would also benefit greatly from more time spent in face-to-face environments, Sorensen said.</p>
What Parents Can Do<p>Parents should ask for and receive frequent updates from schools about plans for the fall. They should also be informed about plans if and when COVID infections are identified, Sharfstein said.</p><p>"I'd like to see parents investing now, during the summer, in doing things that can slow and stop the spread of the virus in their communities," Widome said.</p><p>"Now is a good time for kids to practice wearing masks and get used to them as they may be wearing them for longer stretches if school starts up in person," Widome suggested.</p><p>She recommends parents try different mask designs and materials to see what children are more comfortable wearing.</p><p>"If you are using cloth face coverings, it's good to have extras on hand," Widome added.</p><p>Parents should model healthy behavior at home and while out in public — another thing that could affect how well children adapt to reopening practices, Sorensen said.</p><p>"Children may want to know more about face coverings," added <a href="https://www.linkedin.com/in/leescott/" target="_blank">Lee Scott</a>, chairwoman of the Educational Advisory Board at <a href="https://www.goddardschool.com/" target="_blank">The Goddard School</a>. "Dramatic play, such as creating or wearing a face covering, may help some children adjust to this concept." Schools can also show children photos of what faculty members look like in their masks so the students are familiar with that appearance.</p><p>Johns Hopkins University recently released its eSchool+ Initiative, a slew of resources surrounding education during the pandemic. These include a <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-checklist/" target="_blank">checklist for administrators</a>, report on <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/ethics-of-reopening/" target="_blank">ethical considerations</a>, and a tracker of <a href="https://equityschoolplus.jhu.edu/reopening-policy-tracker/" target="_blank">state and local reopening plans</a>.</p>
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By Eoin Higgins
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