While driving north through Indiana en route to Chicago in the middle of the night, drivers will likely find themselves suddenly surrounded by a sea of red blinking lights. They don’t signify a nearby airport or some secret government operation. Instead, the red lights simply indicate the tops of turbines—or high tech windmills. In the sunlight, I-65 adopts a yellow-brick road quality, the sheer magnitude of the extraordinary wind farm that stretches for miles actually visible. The behemoths adopt a sleek and graceful quality, their blades dancing in sync high above the scattered tree line. This particular operation, the Meadow Lake Wind Farm, consists of 303 turbines that produce approximately 500 MW of power, or enough energy to power 150,000 to 300,000 homes per year. Meadow Lake Wind is one of 28 North American farms operated by Spain-based EDP-Renewables, whose combined output equals nearly 3,700 MW. At the moment, growth of the wind industry in the US has been slow. But experts argue that with increased support of wind farming in the US, there is an opportunity to avoid sole reliance on nonrenewable fossil fuel sources for energy. One day soon, we may find ourselves not relying on the Kansas oil fields anymore.
Due to a long history of pollution regulation and filtration, clean and drinkable water rushes out of the faucets in homes of most Americans every time the handle is turned. In fact, most people do not even think about where the water is coming from because of a long-established trust with local municipalities. But it turns out the water entering and leaving our sinks may not be as safe as previously assumed thanks to tiny micropollutants that are byproducts of materials like pharmaceuticals, cleaning supplies, and beauty products.