Unlocking Our Nation’s Wind Potential

Wind is an important source of clean, affordable American energy. Wind power supplies nearly 5 percent of our nation’s electricity demand across 39 states, and it’s getting cheaper every year thanks to new strides in wind technology and policy. Since the 1980s, the cost of deploying wind energy has dropped by 90 percent. Meanwhile, further improvements are poised to make wind economical in every state.

An Energy Department report released today shows how the next generation of wind turbines could make reliable, cost-effective wind power a reality in all 50 states. The report, Enabling Wind Power Nationwide, explains that advanced wind turbines with taller towers and longer blades will allow us to reach stronger, more consistent winds found high above the ground, unlocking wind energy’s potential across an additional 700,000 square miles—roughly one-fifth of the land area of the United States.

turbine height

These new taller wind towers are marvels of human ingenuity and engineering savvy. Developed by the Energy Department and industry partners, these technological wonders stand 110 to 140 meters tall in “hub height” (calculated at the center of the rotor), up to 1 ½ times the height of the Statue of Liberty. Their immense scale lets them take advantage of better wind resources, unobstructed by things like trees and buildings — and with blades longer than 60 meters, they can generate electricity more efficiently than ever before.

This is a big deal for wind power in America. Larger, more efficient wind turbines will create new opportunities for wind energy generation and job growth in places like the southeastern U.S., where wind speeds are generally low. The map above shows areas where new turbine technology will lead to expanded access to wind power, highlighted in orange.

The combination of technological advances and additional wind energy deployments will continue to make wind power cheaper for millions of Americans, helping reduce greenhouse gas emissions as a part of our nation’s robust clean energy portfolio. Our Wind Vision report explores how wind energy could support 600,000 American jobs and supply up to 35 percent of the nation’s power by 2050.

Learn more about next-generation wind technology at the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Wind Program Research and Development website.

http://energy.gov/eere/articles/unlocking-our-nation-s-wind-potential

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