U.S. 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 this week 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.
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.
"Wind generation has more than tripled in the United States in just six years, exceeding 4.5 percent of total generation, and we are focused on expanding its clean power potential to every state in the country," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "By producing the next generation of larger and more efficient wind turbines, we can create thousands of new jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as we fully unlock wind power as a critical national resource."
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 66 gigawatts 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.