Paragraph 1] → Since 1980, the use of wind to produce electricity has been growing rapidly. █ [A] In 1994 there were nearly 20,000 wind turbines worldwide, most grouped in clusters called wind farms that collectively produced 3,000 megawatts of electricity. █ [B] Most were in Denmark (which got 3 percent of its electricity from wind turbines) and California (where 17,000 machines produced 1 percent of the state’s electricity, enough to meet the residential needs of a city as large as San Francisco). █ [C] In principle, all the power needs of the United States could be provided by exploiting the wind potential of just three states—North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas. █ [D]
Large wind farms can be built in six months to a year and then easily expanded as needed. With a moderate to fairly high net energy yield, these systems emit no heat-trapping carbon dioxide or other air pollutants and need no water for cooling; manufacturing them produces little water pollution. The land under wind turbines can be used for grazing cattle and other purposes, and leasing land for wind turbines can provide extra income for farmers and ranchers.
Paragraph 3] → Wind power has a significant cost advantage over nuclear power and has become competitive with coal-fired power plants in many places. With new technological advances and mass production, projected cost declines should make wind power one of the world’s cheapest ways to produce electricity. In the long run, electricity from large wind farms in remote areas might be used to make hydrogen gas from water during periods when there is less than peak demand for electricity. The hydrogen gas could then be fed into a storage system and used to generate electricity when additional or backup power is needed.
Paragraph 4] → Wind power is most economical in areas with steady winds. In areas where the wind dies down, backup electricity from a utility company or from an energy storage system becomes necessary. Backup power could also be provided by linking wind farms with a solar cell, with conventional or pumped-storage hydropower, or with efficient natural-gas-burning turbines. Some drawbacks to wind farms include visual pollution and noise, although these can be overcome by improving their design and locating them in isolated areas.
Paragraph 5] → Large wind farms might also interfere with the flight patterns of migratory birds in certain areas, and they have killed large birds of prey (especially hawks, falcons, and eagles) that prefer to hunt along the same ridge lines that are ideal for wind turbines. The killing of birds of prey by wind turbines has pitted environmentalists who champion wildlife protection against environmentalists who promote renewable wind energy. Researchers are evaluating how serious this problem is and hope to find ways to eliminate or sharply reduce this problem. Some analysts also contend that the number of birds killed by wind turbines is dwarfed by birds killed by other human-related sources and by the potential loss of entire bird species from possible global warming. Recorded deaths of birds of prey and other birds in wind farms in the United States currently amount to no more than 300 per year. By contrast, in the United States an estimated 97 million birds are killed each year when they collide with buildings made of plate glass, 57 million are killed on highways each year; at least 3.8 million die annually from pollution and poisoning; and millions of birds are electrocuted each year by transmission and distribution lines carrying power produced by nuclear and coal power plants.
The technology is in place for a major expansion of wind power worldwide. Wind power is a virtually unlimited source of energy at favorable sites, and even excluding environmentally sensitive areas, the global potential of wind power is much higher than the current world electricity use. In theory, Argentina, Canada, Chile, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom could use wind to meet all of their energy needs. Wind power experts project that by the middle of the twenty-first century wind power could supply more than 10 percent of the world’s electricity and 10-25 percent of the electricity used in the United States.
Based on the information in paragraph 1 which of the following best explains the term wind farms?
The word emit in the passage is closest in meaning to
Based on the information in paragraph 3 and paragraph 4, what can be inferred about the states of North Dakota, South Dakota, and Texas mentioned at the end of paragraph 1 ?
According to paragraph 3, which of the following is true about periods when the demand for electricity is relatively low?
In paragraph 4, the author states that in areas where winds are not steady
According to paragraph 4, what can be inferred about the problems of visual pollution and noise associated with wind farms?
The phrase this problem in the passage refers to
Which of the sentences below best expresses the essential information in the highlighted sentence in the passage?Incorrect choices change the meaning in important ways or leave out essential information.
In paragraph 5, why does the author give details about the estimated numbers of birds killed each year?
The phrase amount to in the passage is closest in meaning to
The word project in the passage is closest in meaning to
Which of the following statements most accurately reflects the author’s opinion about wind energy?
Look at the four squares █ that indicate where the following sentence could be added to the passage.
Some companies in the power industry are aware of this wider possibility and are planning sizable wind-farm projects in states other than California.
Where would the sentence best fit?
Click on a square █ to add the sentence to the passage.
Read the passage.
Then answer the questions. Give yourself 20 minutes to complete this practice set.