5 top wind farms as makers of renewable energy

Wind with its power can produce enough energy to light up a city, provide energy for a factory, and even fly a kite. With something so remarkable as wind power, it is also a marker of the seasons changing. Actually, wind is the forces of air that flows along waters. According to the U.S. Energy Information, wind is just simply air in motion.

Wind is created upon how fast land and water on Earth are heated. As land is heated much faster than water, the cooler air interacts with warmer air, creating wind. But why is wind such an important renewable energy source?

Wind has been a renewal energy resource for centuries. Wind was used by early Egyptians to carry them overseas and windmills were created to pump water and used to produce food. By the 1920s, windmills were common manufacturers of electricity. But within a decade, power lines and the consumption of fossil fuel replaced them as energy sources. However, nowadays, with concerns of lack of fossil fuel and its detrimental effect on the environment, there are more and more wind farms or wind plants throughout the world.

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The top wind farms in the world are:

1. Roscoe Wind Farm located in Roscoe, Texas in the United States, produces 781.5 MW (MegaWatts). This wind farm began as a project in 2007. It provides enough energy for 60,000 homes. It is estimated that by 2015, Roscoe Wind Farms will provide over 5,000 MW in new renewal energy for Texas. This powerhouse has led to future projects close to Abilene, Texas and to the Champion project, a 126 MW wind farm.

2. Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center located in Texas, produces 735.5 MW. It covers almost 47,000 acres of land in the counties of Taylor and Nolan in northwest Texas.

3. Walney Wind Farm located in the United Kingdom, produces 367 MW. It is located 15 km (approximately 9 miles) offshore of Walney Island, Cumbria of the United Kingdom shoreline. It consists of 2 Walney Wind Farms. Walney 2 began operation on November 2011. And Walney 1 recently started operation in February 2012. It produces enough energy to supply 320,000 homes.

4. Thanet Offshore Wind Project located 12 km (approximately 7 miles) from the Foreness Point on the eastern side of Kent in the United Kingdom produces 300 MW. It supplies enough energy for 200,000 homes. It is one of the largest offshore wind farms in the world housing 100 turbines that covers an area of 35 square km (13 square miles).

5. Gansu Wind Farm located in western region of China is proposed to harness 20,000 MW by 2020. This wind farm project began in 2008. By 2010, it produced more than 5,000 MW. This project is also referred to as the Jiuquan Wind Power Base.

Renewable energy sources are among us everyday. With the signal of climate change, wind provides the type of renewable energy that can be seen throughout the world. This type of clean energy source is harnessed in wind farms.

Could you see wind farms where you live? What type of energy source do you see where you live?


The Hawksbill turtle unbelievable odds

As the sun slowly hid in the distant horizon, an unexpected surprised started to unfold in a nearby sand nest. Miniature, small hatchlings were surfacing from a Hawksbill or tortoiseshell turtle nest. Hawksbill sea turtles are named for their mouth appearance; it looks like a Hawk’s beak. Perhaps, it may have taken only a couple of months to hatch from the thousands of eggs beneath the egg chamber. But they finally made it out.

Although one in 10,000 newly born turtles make it to the shoreline of the open ocean waters, it will start to crawl and use its flippers to move across the sand. The journey is not easy. Many predators seek an easy meal as they wander around the beach. Raccoons, crabs and birds feed on these helpless hatchlings. Even raccoons dig for Hawksbill eggs, sometimes eating all of them.

Humans are a main concern for these endangered species. Places like Malaysia and the Caribbean use the turtle shells for jewelry and decorations. In fact, they even eat the eggs as a food delicacy or use them for medicine. But that’s not all. Hotel lights and beach house lights, although illuminate the night at beaches; they unfortunately, disorient female turtles and hatchlings as they seek the ocean waters. Beach house construction disrupts the nesting processes of the female turtles.

Hawksbill sea turtles as well as the other 7 species of sea turtles return to the origin of birth in beaches to lay their eggs. When construction along the beaches obstructs their pathway to the sea, it makes it difficult for female turtles to lay their eggs.

Pollution also impedes them to lay their eggs on the sandy beaches. Plastic bags, waste, oil, and other chemical spillage are hazardous not only to the sea turtles trying to embark on their journey to their habitat of coral reefs but to all marine life. Plastic bags, in particular, can be dangerous. Sea turtles may confuse them for appetizing jellyfish.

Hawksbill sea turtles can also feed on sea grass, sponges, corallimorphians and zoanthids. Fishing nets pose a danger to sea turtles. Many of them get tangled, making it harder for them to escape. However, many fish boats are now utilizing the TED (Turtle Exclusion Device) method, which allows them to escape from an open area when accidentally stuck in a net. If the small Hawksbill sea turtle, against all odds, makes it to the beach shoreline, it will try to swim its way to its natural habitats – the coral reefs.

There it will grow and develop a brown and yellow, spiky carapace or shell. And, it may grow to be as big as 100 pounds and 30 inches long. Amazingly, it will navigate through rough ocean waters until it reaches the currents. Sea turtles use the ocean currents as their navigational compass to travel from one region to another.

They may travel as much as 1,400 miles to reach their original birthplace. When female turtles arrive at their beach destination, every 2 years to nest, they lay as many as 160 clutches of eggs, unaware of the many dangers ahead. Predators and pollution have caused the population of Hawksbill turtles to decline by 80% worldwide in the last 105 years.

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Biologists and conservationists are making efforts that these sea turtles do not go extinct. They work hard to educate about conservation and preservation methods for the 8,000 nests recorded around the world. Sea turtles are an essential part of the ecosystem, the living area that surrounds the beaches and the ocean where all different species coexist.

When they lay their eggs on the sand, they nourish the nearby plant roots, preventing beach erosion. When sea turtles feed on sea grass, they promote healthy living for other species in the water that use sea grass as their home. When sea turtles are not able to nest on beaches, it greatly sends a signal of the conditions of the area.

Have you seen turtle nesting sites in your area?

Habitat and fun facts about iguanas in the desert

Is it possible to observe iguanas in the arid, dry climate of the desert? As a matter of fact, Desert Iguanas or Dipsosaurus dorsalis are native to the Mojave and Sonoran deserts of the Southwestern region of the United States. They can also be found in the Northwestern areas of Mexico.

The Desert Iguana is a small reptile of about 10 – 16 inches long, with an extensive tail. Additionally, their bodies have tan and white scales, with sharp front and back claws, suitable for climbing trees. Although iguanas are most commonly found in tropical habitats, these reptiles have adapted well to the dry conditions of the desert.

Desert iguanas are considered herbivores, mainly feeding on low-lying plants, flowers and small bushes like the Creosote bush, cactus flowers, and mesquite trees. They prefer nearby bushes where they can eat the leaves and flowers, consuming them for their high water content and potassium.

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These lizards possess special glands that help them secrete the high amount of potassium without losing water content. This becomes an essential survival skill in the desert habitat. Desert Iguanas are considered ectotherm reptiles, an ability to regulate body temperature from external energy sources. They particularly like to bask or lay in the desert sun when their body temperatures are low. To regulate their body temperature, these reptiles furthermore use burrows, which are holes in the ground dug by other animals.

When typical desert temperatures increase to 110 degrees Fahrenheit or more, these animals are able to either seek shade under a tree or refuge in the burrows. Similarly, these deep holes present other means of survival in the desert habitat. Desert iguanas also use burrows to escape from predators such as snakes and birds. In fact, they use these holes as nesting areas. These reptiles also tend to stay close to their habitat and live close to their burrow.

Have you seen these interesting reptiles in your area?