Breezing into The Future

How can America curb its dangerous dependence on scarce, nasty fossil fuels? The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind.

A decade ago, windmills promised to be a clean, reliable source of power that could help wean America from its dependence on dirty fuels and foreign oil. The idea of harnessing an energy supply that was free as the breeze generated enough megawatts of excitement to light up an entire new industry. Spurred by generous government tax incentives, investors poured more than $2.5 billion into U.S. wind projects during the early 1980s.

But enthusiasm was not enough to propel the dream into reality. "Wind developed a reputation for not working, and it had the stigma of a tax scam," says Robert...