The kinetic energy stored in the movement of the atmosphere is a good alternative to fossil fuels. Wind speeds change over time, and we can't control that, so it means we can source some, but not all, of our power from this source.
With this in mind, I left a laptop running (in low-power mode) for two weeks (22nd September to 6th of October), with an excellent visualisation of the Earth's atmosphere (created by Cameron Beccario) running on the left, and a display of the output of South Australian and Victorian wind farms (Australia's two highest-wind states) running on the right. You can see Australia's wind farms dotted along the south coast in the map below:
|Elemental Power Industries map of Australian operational wind power - click here for a kmz file for viewing in Google Earth|
Without further ado, here's the short video (no sound) of the last fortnight's worth of atmospheric power conversion - you can see walls of energy moving across the continent, and the output of wind farms ebbing upwards when these pockets of power move over the installations:
Or, the middle 10 seconds of the video, in djiff form:
If you're interested in a different view of the two-week period, below is the generation data for Australia's wind power fleet (SA, Tas, Vic and NSW), averaged by day:
You can download the enitre set of images (~127 MB) used to create the animation here, the video (in mp4) here, or the djiff, here. GeoScience Australia has an excellent summary of Australia's wind power resources here.
I like nice things, like air conditioners and televisions. If we can source our electricity from a fuel source that doesn't burden us with current and future harm, we can continue to have nice things.