The United States is the second largest wind power producer in the world. This sector supports more than 100,000 jobs and drives billions of dollars in investment every year. Consumption of wind-generated energy is on par with that generated by biofuels, at approximately a quarter of the total energy uptake in the United States (1, 2).
Wind energy began to have a strong presence in the domestic energy market in the 1970s, and resurfaced from the mid 1990s onwards following a decline in fossil fuels related to environmental concerns (3). The majority of wind installations in the US are at utility scale, and are present in more than 40 of the 50 states. On the other hand, approximately 10 percent of all wind installations belong to community owned or individual projects (4).
Wind Energy Hot-spots
Production facilities are mainly located in Midwestern states, namely South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas, and Iowa. In some states (like Iowa) wind energy meets almost a third of the total electricity demand, and Texas and California also have made notable investments in improving their wind energy capacity (5, 6). In other parts of the country, the growth of this sector has been bolstered by grants and funding made available to agricultural producers in Oregon, New York, and Alaska (7).
Wind Energy in the United States: 2020-2030 Outlook
The outlook for the wind energy sector in the United States is promising. While no official targets are set, government officials at the Office for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy have stated that wind energy could account for 20 percent of the nation's total energy supply by 2030. Other reports suggest that wind energy is a feasible source of renewable energy in all 50 states (8, 9).
Growth will likely come from the offshore wind energy market, which has only been operational since 2016. The areas most likely to invest in this kind of wind technology include Hawaii, and states in the Gulf of Mexico, Northeast and Mid Atlantic coastal regions (10). On the whole, offshore energy has enormous potential in the US, although to fully harness its benefits more research is required on how to address challenges like extreme weather, and to develop technology to support deep water foundations (11).
Future production capacity is set to increase thanks to a favorable regulatory environment that offers federal tax credits and other incentives at state level, along with rapidly developing technologies that make the production of wind power more cost-effective while minimizing its impact on the environment. Noteworthy future trends in this respect include major improvements in wind turbine performance, the repowering and retrofitting of older generation turbines to maximize project efficiency, and the adoption of multiple turbine configurations (12).
Sources & CitationsThis Energyboom article contains information and quotations from a variety of sources, including the following:
- (1) https://www.bizvibe.com/blog/top-10-wind-energy-producing-countries-world/
- (2) https://www.eia.gov/energyexplained/?page=us_energy_home
- (3) http://windenergyfoundation.org/about-wind-energy/faqs/
- (4) https://www.energy.gov/sites/prod/files/2013/12/f5/20percent_summary_chap6.pdf
- (5) https://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/pressrelease.aspx?ItemNumber=8463
- (6) https://cleantechnica.com/2018/01/31/us-wind-industry-installed-7-gw-drove-11-billion-investment/
- (7) https://www.rd.usda.gov/programs-services/rural-energy-america-program-renewable-energy-systems-energy-efficiency
- (8) https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/20-wind-energy-2030-increasing-wind-energys-contribution-us-electricity-supply
- (9) https://www.energy.gov/eere/wind/wind-vision
- (10) https://www.boem.gov/renewable-energy-program/renewable-energy-guide/offshore-wind-energy.aspx
- (11) https://www.windpowermonthly.com/article/1464036/awea-2018-us-wind-power-industry-facing-tumultuous-time
- (12) https://www.energy.gov/eere/articles/top-4-trends-us-wind-market