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ENVIRONMENT REPORT – Study Says Wind Power to Lead Growth in Renewable Energies in US, Canada - 2003-07-17

Broadcast: July 18, 2003:

This is the VOA Special English Environment Report.

A study says wind power will lead the growth in the use of renewable energy in the United States and Canada over the next ten years. Renewable energy also includes forms like power from the sun. Navigant Consulting in the United States carried out the study. Energy companies helped pay for much of the research.

The use of wind energy has grown in the United States, but remains less than one percent of all the energy produced.

Lisa Frantzis led the study. She says the researchers expect additions of as much as one-thousand-five-hundred megawatts from wind power projects each year. That is about equal to the energy production of one nuclear power station.

The study says there have been major improvements in the performance of all renewable energy technologies in the past twenty years. For example, the study reports a ninety percent drop in the price of electricity produced from wind. In the nineteen-eighties a kilowatt hour of wind power cost about thirty-eight cents. Now, a kilowatt hour is closer to three cents.

The study found that government support must continue and grow to permit renewable energies to compete in the power industry.

However, some renewable energy companies face criticism. In fact, wind energy producers usually have to deal with opposition from communities they try to enter.

Currently, a wind energy company is trying to set up business in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. The Cape Wind company wants to place more than one-hundred windmills in nearby waters. The windmills are hundreds of meters tall. Cape Wind says the project could provide Cape Cod with seventy-five percent of its electricity needs. And, it would not create pollution.

But, a number of people who live on or visit the Cape say they do not want the windmills. They say Cape Cod is a national treasure that should not be open to industry. They argue that building the windmills would hurt fish and birds in the area. And, they say it would hurt tourism. They say the windmills will ruin the beauty of looking out to sea from the coast.

Environmental groups, however, look at the situation differently. They ague that a source of energy that does not cause pollution would protect natural environments like Cape Cod.

This VOA Special English Environment Report was written by Caty Weaver.