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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

The Living on Earth Almanac

Air Date: Week of

This week, facts about... wind generated electricity.


CURWOOD: That wind howling past your windows on Halloween may sound eerie, but it may also be keeping your lights on. Fifty-six years ago this month, wind-generated electricity was first used on a large scale in this country. The community of Grandpa's Knob, Vermont that's right, Grandpa's Knob, Vermont, tapped into a wind turbine run by Palmer Putnam, a man who had grown tired of high electricity bills. Mr. Putnam's turbine functioned for more than a year, but then along came World War II, and interest in wind power faded. But concerns over global warming and diminishing fossil fuels have renewed interest in alternative energy. Today, nearly 30,000 wind turbines operate around the world. Wind is the world's fastest growing energy source and it's clean. A good-sized turbine produces enough electricity to power 100 homes. To do the same job a coal or gas powered plant would release a lot of carbon dioxide. Palmer Putnam wasn't the first to capture the wind for electricity. During the 1920s people in rural America set up wind- powered generators to charge the batteries of an amazing new contraption: the radio. And for this week, that's the Living on Earth Almanac.



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