IN OTHER WORDS : Wind power

In the early 1970s, the Danes decided to harness the wind, and not the atom, to generate much of their electricity. Today, the design and production of state-of-the-art windmills is this small country’s biggest industry. As most of the rest of the world seeks to slow down or reverse the production of greenhouse gases from fossil-fuel power plants, Denmark provides an example of one way to make electricity without emitting CO2. Wind, the world’s fastest-growing form of electricity production, deserves consideration in the US and elsewhere as a carbon-free alternative to fossil fuel power. The great advantages are that it relies on a source that costs nothing and emits nothing. But there are two major disadvantages: Wind power production depends on fickle weather, and building and installing wind turbines is expensive. A grid with wind turbines - Denmark now gets almost 20 per cent of its power from wind, and its Wind Energy Association is aiming for 50 per cent by 2025 - needs backups for days when the wind doesn’t blow or blows too hard. Denmark’s way to compensate power producers for the high capital cost of wind is to guarantee a firm like Energi E2. The uncertainties surrounding fossil fuels make wind look like a conservative hedge bet for a future that could put a premium on non-polluting power sources. — The Boston Globe