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Surprising Science

Cars and Windmills: It Could Happen

Companies are making it possible for electric vehicles to get their power from wind-energy sources. It may not be in the form of a rooftop windmill, but it’s getting there.

Article written by guest writer Kecia Lynn

What’s the Latest Development?

Technically, Mitt Romney is right: You can’t drive a car with a windmill on it. However, according to Tina M. Casey at CleanTechnica, we’re getting closer to that possibility, sort of: General Electric (GE) has partnered with a company called Urban Green Energy (UGE) to create an electric vehicle charging station attached to a wind turbine. Barcelona is home to the first Sanya Skypump, which merges GE’s Wattstation technology with UGE’s Sanya hybrid streetlamp, which runs on both wind and solar energy. Theoretically, this combination can be adapted for home use as well, giving more customers the ability to take advantage of energy generated from wind turbines available on the grid.

What’s the Big Idea?

Casey refers to the US Department of Energy’s recently-released 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, which notes that 32 percent of all new electric energy added to the grid last year came from wind power. In addition, almost 70 percent of the materials used at wind farms were made in the US, generating thousands of jobs, and the price of that energy has dropped considerably due to improvements in equipment and technology. With all of these factors built in, it’s hard to argue the increasing value of wind power, especially since, as Casey notes, “You can’t drive with an oil well on your car, either.”

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