Forecasting Change: Using wind and solar energy to reach net zero

News 6 chief meteorologist Tom Sorrells breaks down strategies to achieve

Where solar energy shines

ORLANDO, Fla. – Are you already familiar with the term net zero?

In short, it means that any greenhouse gas emissions that we release into the atmosphere are being balanced by an equal amount being taken out of the atmosphere. It sounds strange when you first discuss it, but bear with me.

There are new strategies on the horizon that will need to be developed and transformed to help us get there. Some of the areas to be changed are transportation, agriculture, housing and the production of electricity.

In the coming months of 2021, I’ll be writing about this topic and more ways society will be moving to get to “net zero.”

Right now, there are already some huge things that we can do to get us on the road to net zero.

One of these is wind energy.

In the last few years, wind power has exploded in the U.S. We now have enough wind power turbines producing enough energy to power more than 24 million homes. The area that is most consistent with wind is the Great Plains and the Rockies, but Florida is not a bad spot either. Check out this graphic that shows “Where The Wind Blows.”

Wind energy potential

Keep in mind: Wind power produces more than just electricity. There is a whole new industry popping up around the installation of the turbines and infrastructure. That means more jobs in the coming economy.

The other current big help is solar power.

Where solar energy shines
Solar energy produced in Orlando

In the last 15 years, the cost of solar panels has dropped by 50% and the and the installation of solar panels has increased by almost 20%. With that said, we are still a long way from it being commonplace. But look at the “Where Solar Energy Shines” graphic above and see how great it can work for us all in Central Florida. I believe someday all of our homes will be warmed in the winter and cooled in the summer by solar. It’s just a matter of time.

About the Author:

Tom Sorrells is News 6's Emmy award winning chief meteorologist. He pinpoints storms across Central Florida to keep residents safe from dangerous weather conditions.