According to the Global Wind Energy Council and U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), the U.S. continues to lead the world in existing wind energy production. The EIA states that currently wind power provides about 5% U.S. electricity needs.
Since the year 2000, over $120 billion worth of U.S. wind projects have been constructed. New investments in wind power plants estimated at $13 billion/year between 2008 and 2013. The U.S. increased the manufacturing of wind equipment which in return decreased wind equipment imports from 80% in (2006–2007) to 30% in (2012–2013). Factors such as low natural gas market prices and resulting impacts on wholesale electricity prices have influenced wind power advancement.
Wind Power Facts
Based on the current average U.S fuel mix, one 1-MW wind turbine displaces 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide each year which is equivalent to planting 1 square mile of forest.
The U.S. wind energy potential is estimated at over 10,000 billion kWh per year. This is more than twice the total electricity produced from all sources in the U.S. today.
U.S. Annual and Cumulative Wind Power Capacity Growth
What exactly has been happening all these years in the U.S. wind industry?
Energy Policy Act passed by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush. The act includes policies on tax incentives and loan agreements on various forms of energy generation, including wind power.
AWEA establishes a “grid code” with utilities and power system authorities, permitting reliable integration of wind turbines onto large-scale power grids nationwide.
Total U.S. wind capacity is at 10,000 MW primarily due to the federal production tax credit and renewable portfolio standard state incentives.
The Department of Interior institutes the Wind Turbine Guidelines Advisory Committee to propose rules related to siting wind projects.
The first 345-foot wind tower is constructed in Texas by Enel Green Power North America.
The American Wind Wildlife Institute is established to maintain conscious efforts to prevent, reduce, and alleviate wildlife impacts by starting a partnership with the conservation community.
The United States reaches 20,000 MW in wind capacity. By the end of the year, the U.S. is ranking first in the world on wind energy.
The Obama administration increases funding for renewable energy development. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 extends the production and investment tax credits for wind energy through 2012. As the financial crisis cuts profits and investors’ ability to utilize tax credits, ARRA constitutes a new reimbursement program that grants wind project developers a refund in lieu of the tax credits.
The U.S. domestic content is 50 percent, which means half of the country’s operating wind power equipment is made locally. China tops out at 41,800 MW as the biggest wind energy provider in the world. The U.S. is at 40,280 MW of installed wind capacity.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) passes Order 1000, which supports how transmission is proposed and paid for. This ruling helps expand the U.S. transmission system in a way that supports the wind energy industry.
Renewable Portfolio Standard policies are applicable to 29 states and the District of Columbia.
Wind power is at 60,000 MW of cumulative wind capacity in the U.S.
The United States has more than 550 facilities manufacturing over two thirds of the materials for wind turbines domestically.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service finalizes voluntary Land-Based Wind Energy Guidelines. The guidelines implement a process for planning, operating, and monitoring wind energy facilities that minimize impacts to birds, bats, and other wildlife.
Wind power generated 4.13 percent of all the electricity in the U.S. as the fifth largest electricity source.
At the end of 2014, there were 73,000 jobs generated from the wind industry.
The installed wind power capacity in the U.S. was 74,472 megawatts.
This year the U.S. Energy Department has approved the $2.5 billion Clean Line Energy Partners LLC 705 mile power line . The line will carry 4,000 megawatts of power from Oklahoma through Arkansas into Tennessee. The construction will start in 2017 and will begin operation in 2020. The project increases the possibility of wind farm construction in remote parts of the Midwest that lack accessibility to major power lines.
Presently, every state in the United States has either an operational wind energy project, a wind-related manufacturing facility, or both. Over 1,000 utility-scale wind projects with a total of 74,472 megawatts (MW) and over 52,000 wind turbines have been installed across 40 U.S. states and Puerto Rico. There are more than 500 wind manufacturing facilities across 43 states. As you consider the facts and figures over the decade, the wind has definitely been blowing far across the U.S!
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