Through a post on Google Maps Mania I learned today of some good maps for exploring the feasibility of using alternative energy sources in the United States. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory offers mapped data about alternative energy use and alternative energy availability in the United States. Google Maps Mania highlighted the NREL’s transportation atlas that features the locations of alternative energy fueling stations and the density of alternative energy vehicles.
I explored the NREL’s website and found that there were many good visuals and articles about alternative energy sources in the United States. Of particular interest to me was the section on Wind Power. In this section I found wind resource maps that depict the estimated availability of energy from wind in each state. The NREL’s website also links to maps about geothermal energy and solar energy.
Applications for Education
The NREL’s resource maps and transportation atlas are good reference materials to have when creating a lesson on alternative energy sources. You could have students examine the maps and write up proposals for alternative energy use in your state.