USA – wind

(March 2017) The energy generated by wind turbines in the United States supplied more than 5.5% of the country’s electricity in 2016, and in Iowa, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota, supplied more than 20%, according to new figures from the American Wind Energy Association. Wind turbines operating in 40 US states generated a record total of 226 million megawatt-hours (MWh) during 2016. This is up 18% over 2015’s figures, but in terms of the percentage of electricity supplied nationwide, represented only a 4.7% increase over 2015. link The country’s wind energy capacity has tripled since 2008, reaching 88,973MW by the end of 2017, contributing 6.3% of the nation’s energy supply in 2017. link  (Photo: IKEA wind farm in Texas – credit: IKEA)


  • Overview – on-shore wind
  • Off-shore wind
Overview / on-shore wind

August 2018: Three new government reports detail how the wind industry is expanding. Wind power capacity has tripled across the United States in just the last decade as prices have plunged and the technology has become more muscular, the federal government’s energy labs report. Three new reports on the state of U.S. wind power show how the industry is expanding onshore with bigger, more powerful turbines that make wind energy possible even in areas with lower wind speeds. Offshore, the reports describe a wind industry poised for a market breakthrough. link

May 2018: Mapping the nation’s wind turbines. There are more than 57,000 wind turbines across the United States. A new Wind Turbine Database is a comprehensive dataset of U.S. wind turbine locations and characteristics that is easily accessible, more accurate, and updated more often than existing wind turbine datasets. link

May 2018: US wind farms take tax advantage to invest. As the Production Tax Credit shrinks again in 2019 before disappearing altogether in 2020, wind farm operators are upgrading and overhauling older turbines and turning to new technologies to squeeze more power out of every breeze and earn an 11% rate of return. ‘Repowering’ – the industry term for replacing or overhauling aging turbines – added 7MW of capacity in the U.S. in 2017. link

May 2016: Wind energy now lowest-cost energy source. The cost of emissions-free wind energy has declined by two-thirds in the last six years thanks to the availability of cheaper, more efficient turbines. An annual analysis determined that wind energy is now the lowest-cost energy source, even before federal green-energy tax incentives are factored in. Now the U.S. leads the world in wind energy with about 48,800 utility-scale turbines operating across the country, generating enough electricity to power about 20 million homes. By 2030, the Energy Department estimates wind will provide 20% of the nation’s electricity. America’s coal mines now employ about only about 56,700 people – by contrast, the fast-growing solar industry now employs more than 210,000 workers.

Map showing wind power growth by state from 1999 to 2016 – link

July 2017: 2GW wind farm announced for Oklahoma. A new wind farm that could become the largest in the U.S. will be taking shape across the plains of the Oklahoma Panhandle over the next three years. American Electric Power and wind developer Invenergy plan to complete a $4.5 billion wind farm called the Wind Catcher Energy Connection by 2020, along with a 350-mile electric power line. Wind Catcher’s claim to fame as the largest single wind farm in the U.S. comes with an asterisk, however. Another project of similar size is being developed in Iowa, but it will be composed of multiple separate wind farms. A 3GW wind on two sites is being proposed in Wyoming. link

October 2016: Wind power helps economy of US farmers. A five-year extension of a federal tax credit on wind production, passed late 2015, should accelerate the construction of turbines and help double U.S. wind power capacity to 167GW, enough to power 50 million homes, by 2030, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. By 2030 rural landowners are projected to reap as much as $900 million a year by leasing land to wind developers. Wind is also keeping power prices low across much of rural America. In the 11 states that produce more than 7% of their power from wind, electricity prices fell from 2008 to 2013 whereas nationwide power prices were up 7.7 %. link

December 2015: Wind energy reaches new record in USA. Wind energy production in the United States is still growing as there are enough projects to generate energy for a record 19 million homes, according to data released by the American Wind Energy Association. The latest record of 70 gigawatts through 50,000 turbines was achieved in November. link

May 2016: Iowa now gets 31% of its electricity from renewable energy, more than any other state. Also Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota all generated more than 20% of their electricity from wind in 2015. link

December 2015: Wind industry gains certainty as tax credits extended. The new bill includes a five-year retroactive extension of the previous bill and steps down the tax credits through December 31, 2019. Wind projects that begin construction in 2017 will receive an ITC/PTC of 24%; projects that begin construction in 2018 will receive an ITC of 18% and projects that begin in 2019 will receive an ITC of 12% These figures represent an ITC/PTC that “steps down” by 20% each year. link

November 2015: Texas – free electricity at night thanks to wind power. Texas has more wind power than any other state, accounting for roughly 10% of the state’s generation. Alone among the 48 contiguous states, Texas runs its own electricity grid that barely connects to the rest of the country, so the abundance of nightly wind power generated here must be consumed here. Wind blows most strongly at night and the power it produces is inexpensive because of its abundance and federal tax breaks. A shift of power use away from the peak daytime periods means lower wholesale prices, and the possibility of avoiding the costly option of building more power plants. link

September 2016: What would a US powered only by wind actually look like?
Wind farms still provide less than 5% of the nation’s energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association. John Hensley, AWEA’s manager of industry data analysis, calculated approximately 583,000 onshore turbines would be needed which would take up about the total land mass of Rhode Island. link

May 2015: Wind power poised to spread to all states. All 50 states could become wind energy producers, according to an Energy Department report once the next generation of larger, taller turbines in development hits the market. Energy officials and executives are now pushing toward machinery that would reach 360 to 460 feet high. That would increase the wind development potential in an additional 700,000 square miles, more than a fifth of the United States, bringing the total area to 1.8 million square miles. link

August 2012: More of America’s wind turbines now built in America. In 2007, just 25% of turbine components used in new wind farms in the U.S. were produced domestically. By last year, that figure had risen to 72%, and exports of such equipment rose to $388 million up from $16 million in 2007. link 

Off-shore Wind

January 2018: After an uncertain start, U.S. offshore wind is powering up. After years of false starts and delays, the offshore wind industry in the United States finally seems to be gaining some momentum, although far behind the burgeoning offshore wind energy industry in Europe. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, more than 25 projects with a generating capacity of 24GW are now being planned mainly off the U.S. Northeast and mid-Atlantic coasts. link

October 2016: 2016 will be remembered as “the year U.S. offshore wind arrived.” Five wind turbines in the Deepwater Wind project (Rhode Island) installed this summer, mark the first “steel in the water” for U.S. offshore wind power. The 30MW wind farm is set to be operational this fall and power 17,000 homes. Scientists confirm there’s enough wind off the coast of the most-populous, power-hungry cities (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Washington, DC) to supply all the nation’s electricity, twice over. The East coast’s offshore-wind potential, 1,001GW, could power the entire Atlantic seaboard. link (October 2016: The “Time is Now” for offshore wind in the USA – link )

September 2016: US plans 86GW off-shore wind by 2050. The U.S. just completed its first off-shore wind farm, with 30MW of capacity off the coast of Rhode Island, and has laid out a plan to reach 86,000MW by 2050. There’s enough potential wind power off U.S. coastlines, 2,000GW, to almost double the nation’s total installed capacity, yet the high cost of turbines at sea have prevented development. link

August 2016: The first U.S. offshore wind farm is complete and will be operational November 2016. link
July 2016: US finally gets first off-shore wind farm. Deepwater Wind has partnered with General Electric Renewable Energy to build the first offshore wind farm in the United States, off the coast of Block Island. Hooked up to the grid by the end of 2016, the system could supply 90% of the tourist destination’s power within the next few years. link

March 2015: European-tested ocean-based wind turbines coming to USA. There are currently 12 offshore wind projects in various stages of development spanning 10 states off the East, West, Great Lakes and Texas coasts. The Northeast coast is particularly well-suited as an incubator of offshore wind, owing to its close access to major cities like Boston and New York. From Maine down to North Carolina, there exist over a thousand miles of coastline with a wide continental shelf on one side and major population centers on the other within a proximity of 15 miles or more. link

September 2012: Offshore wind on the Atlantic coast could create 300,000 jobs. America has some of the best offshore wind resources in the world, especially along the Atlantic coastline. Harnessing a realistic fraction of offshore wind’s potential, 52GW, could power 14 million homes with clean electrons while creating over 300,000 new jobs and $200 billion in new economic activity in some of our biggest cities. link
(According to the United States Energy Information Administration, of the 48 contiguous states, 28 that have coastal boundaries consume 78% of the nation’s electricity.

September 2012: Off-shore turbines could power entire eastern states – link