The Indianapolis 500 is a mad race in which open-wheeled cars zoom around the famous 2.5-mile oval Indianapolis Motor Speedway at speeds averaging 187.4 miles per hour (301.6km/h) for about three hours in the quest for victory. You’d be forgiven for thinking environmental issues are not a priority here, but the almost half-million spectators who attend see more than just fast cars and skilled drivers. They also see the future.
The largest solar farm in the world is located within the racing complex.
The solar farm is not just a nice environmental footnote for inclusion in the speedway’s annual report. It’s part of a growing American movement toward renewable energy utilizing sun, wind and water power to drive U.S. environmental statistics into the green.
We see another picture on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. Americans ruin the environment with their new energy extraction method of fracking. They sneer at fears of global warming. Oil sources in the Gulf of Mexico are sputtering while natural gas streams out of large shale deposits in Pennsylvania or Texas.
What we overlook is the magnitude of the growth of renewable energies within the United States.
Americans don’t follow the German model. If the wind doesn’t blow or the sun doesn’t shine, traditional power plants step up, but they are usually using environmentally friendlier natural gas, largely generated by fracking, while in Germany the alternative is generally coal.