Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz has announced the release of Enabling Wind Power Nationwide, a report showing how the United States can unlock the vast potential for wind energy deployment in all 50 states — made possible through the next-generation of larger wind turbines. Announced at the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER Conference in Orlando, Enabling Wind Power Nationwide builds upon the recently released Wind Vision report, which quantifies the economic, social, and environmental benefits of a robust wind energy future.
The new report highlights the potential for technical advancements to unlock wind resources in regions with limited wind deployment today, such as the Southeast. These new regions represent an additional 700,000 square miles — or about one-fifth of the United States — bringing the total area of technical wind potential to 1.8 million square miles.
Wind power generation in the United States has tripled, increasing from 1.5% of annual electricity end-use demand in 2008 to 4.5% through 2013. As of 2013, there were more than 61GW of wind generating capacity installed, and electric system operators and utilities throughout the country routinely consider wind power as part of a diverse electricity generation portfolio.
Technological advancements, such as taller wind turbine towers of 110 and 140 meters and larger rotors — currently under development by the Energy Department and its private sector partners — can more efficiently capture the stronger and more consistent wind resources typically found at greater heights above ground level, compared with the average 80 meter wind turbine towers installed in 39 states today.
These advanced wind energy systems will generate more electricity per dollar invested and further drive down the cost of wind energy. The Energy Department supports research and development that has already helped the wind industry install nearly 66GW of wind power capacity — enough to power more than 17 million homes — and has helped decrease the cost of wind energy by more than 90 percent. Continuing this technology development is essential to expanding this clean energy source to every state across the nation. Increasing the amount of land suited to commercial wind development, wind power can also provide local economic development opportunities, including jobs for installers, engineers and other support personnel, in new communities and whole regions with currently untapped resources.
For more information on the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, or the Wind Program specifically, please visit www.energy.gov/eere. To learn more about the Wind Vision report released in March, visit the Energy Department’s Wind Vision Web page, and watch this Energy 101 video to see how wind turbines work.