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Part of the Biglow Canyon Wind Farm, with a turbine under construction
Landowners typically receive $3,000 to $5,000 per year in rental income from each wind turbine, while farmers continue to grow crops or graze cattle up to the foot of the turbines.[1]

At the end of 2009, the installed capacity of wind power in the United States was just over 35,000 megawatts (35 GW),[2][3] making it the world leader ahead of Germany. Wind power accounts for about 1.9% of the electricity generated in the United States (1.3% at the end of 2008 [4][5]).

Over 9,900 MW of new wind power capacity was brought online in 2009, up from 8,800 in 2008. These new installations place the U.S. on a trajectory to generate 20% of the nation’s electricity by 2030 from wind energy.[2] Growth in 2008 channeled some $17 billion into the economy, positioning wind power as one of the leading sources of new power generation in the country, along with natural gas. New wind projects completed in 2008 account for about 42% of the entire new power-producing capacity added in the U.S. during the year.[5]

At the end of 2008, about 85,000 people were employed in the U.S. wind industry,[6] and GE Energy was the largest domestic wind turbine manufacturer.[1] Wind projects boosted local tax bases, and revitalized the economy of rural communities by providing a steady income stream to farmers with wind turbines on their land.[1] Wind power in the U.S. provides enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 9 million homes, avoiding the emissions of 57 million tons of carbon each year and reducing expected carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2.5%.[5]

Texas, with 9,410 MW of capacity, has the most wind power capacity of any U.S. state, followed by Iowa with 3,053 MW.[2] The Roscoe Wind Farm (780 MW) in Texas is the world's largest wind farm.[7]

Contents

The world's top wind producer

Map of available wind power over the United States. Color codes indicate wind power density class.

At the end of 2008, the U.S. wind power nameplate capacity became the largest in the world, followed by Germany, with Spain a close third. Because U.S. wind farms have a higher average capacity factor than those in Germany due to higher average wind speeds, the U.S. became the world's largest producer of energy from the wind in mid-2008.[8][9]

Wind power is growing rapidly worldwide and U.S. capacity has more than doubled in the past three years. Doubling U.S. wind energy capacity over the next three years would imply no change in annual growth.[10] Doubling U.S. renewable energy over the next three years will, however imply a very significant growth, as only one-eighth of renewable energy was from wind in 2008, and little growth impact is expected due to any other renewable source.[11] The largest projects are in Texas, the Great Plains, and California, with smaller projects either underway or under consideration in many states. The largest operational wind farm is the Roscoe Wind Farm (780 MW) in Texas, which is the world's largest wind farm.[7]

As of December 31 2009, the top five states with the most wind capacity installed are:[12]

Installed capacity growth

Over the last few years, wind power in the U.S. has been increasing exponentially. The following table compares the growth in wind power installed nameplate capacity in MW for Texas and California (until 2008 the two largest wind energy producing states), and the entire United States since 1999.[13] By the end of 2008, Iowa surpassed California with an installed capacity of 2790 MW.

Year Texas California U.S.
1999 180 1,646 2,500
2000 181 1,646 2,566
2001 1,096 1,714 4,261
2002 1,096 1,822 4,685
2003 1,293 2,043 6,374
2004 1,293 2,096 6,740
2005 1,995 2,150 9,149
2006 2,739 2,376 11,575
2007 4,296 2,439 16,596
2008 7,116 2,517 25,176
U.S. installed wind power, 1981-2008
Installed capacity by state as of 2008-09-30 (for an animated map of installed capacity growth, click here)

Potential capacity

On February 11, 2010, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory released the first comprehensive update of the wind energy potential by state since 1993, showing that the contiguous United States had potential to install 10,458,945 MW of onshore wind power.[14][15] The capacity could generate 37,000,000 gigawatt-hours (GWh) annually, an amount nine times larger than current total U.S. electricity consumption.[16] This amount is also larger than the total U.S. primary energy consumption of 29 PWh in 2005.

The U.S. also has large wind resources in Alaska,[17] Hawaii,[18] and offshore.[19] As of 2010, most wind power development in the U.S. has been onshore, due to the higher costs and risks of offshore wind power, along with delays due to opposition to projects such as Cape Wind.

Leading manufacturers in the U.S. market

As of the end of 2008, the United States had 25.1 GW (25,100 MW) of wind energy capacity, surpassing Germany to become the world's leading wind energy market. Installed capacity increased by 50% in the U.S. in 2008, compared to a 28.8% world average growth rate.[20]

Key players in the U.S. wind industry

  1. GE Energy
  2. Vestas
  3. Siemens
  4. Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
  5. Suzlon
  6. Clipper Windpower
  7. Nordex
  8. Northern Power Systems

[21]

Other manufacturers with large (> 100 MW) projects installed

Wind power by state

In 2009, the United States indicated a target of doubling renewable energy production over the next three years. Most of the increase will come from wind power, although it would require at least 120,000 MW new capacity to double renewable energy, which in 2007 supplied 7% of U.S. energy.[23][24]

Most new wind power capacity is being built in the Great Plains region of the United States, which has a favorable combination of characteristics: ample wind resources, an extensive rail and highway network for shipping outsized turbine components, flat topography which both improves the wind and makes turbine components easier to ship, and broad acceptance from local farmers and ranchers. New development in some locations, however, is being limited by lack of additional capacity to transmit power to locations where it can be used.[25] Other areas seeing wind development include the Pacific Northwest, the Upper Midwest, and the Northeast. The table below shows wind potential and installed capacity along with existing construction (through June 27, 2009).

Kansas has high potential capacity and low existing capacity as well as low development under construction. Kansas alone has sufficient untapped wind to add 120,000 MW of capacity.[26]

State 50 m
Potential
capacity
(MW)[27]
Existing
capacity
End 2009
(MW)[27]
Under
construction
End 2009
(MW)[27]
Estimated
in state %
by wind
end of 2007[28]
Estimated 2008
Energy (GW·h)
Generated
by wind[29]
North Dakota 138,400 1,203 76 3.8 1,525
Texas 136,100 9,410 302 3.0 14,231
Kansas 121,900 1,014 12.5 2.3 1,768
South Dakota 117,200 313 99 6.0 136
Montana 116,000 375 1.9 567
Nebraska 99,100 153 42 0.7 213
Wyoming 85,200 1,101 311 1.7 910
Oklahoma 82,700 1,130 152 3.0 2,309
Minnesota 75,000 1,809 60.5 7.5 4,051
Iowa 62,900 3,670 200 7.5 3,801
Colorado 54,900 1,246 51 6.1 3,099
New Mexico 49,700 597 4.0 1,642
Michigan 16,560[30] 449 20.2 117
Idaho 8,290 147 16 1.5 202
New York 7,080 1,274 21 0.7 1,294
Illinois 6,980 1,547 539 0.8 2,125
California 6,770 2,794 131 2.8 5,419
Wisconsin 6,440 449 422
Maine 6,390 175 91.5 0.8 132
Missouri 5,960 309 150 196
Nevada 5,740
Pennsylvania 5,120 748 729
Oregon 4,870 1,758 336 4.4 2,511
Washington 3,740 1,980 170 2.8 3,649
Massachusetts 2,880 15 15
Utah 2,770 223 202
Arkansas 2,460
Virginia 1,380
New Jersey 1,200 8 21.0
Arizona 1,090 63
North Carolina 835
West Virginia 594 330 100.5 392
Connecticut 571
Vermont 537 6 10.2
New Hampshire 502 26
Ohio 416 7 18.7
Maryland 338
Delaware 197
Tennessee 186 29 50.1
Georgia 171
Rhode Island 109 1
South Carolina 59
Kentucky 34
Indiana 30 [2] 1,036 99 238
Alaska unknown 8 6.1
Hawaii unknown 63 2.3 237
Alabama 0
Florida 0
Louisiana 0
Mississippi 0
Total 1,230,299 35,159 5,866 1.1 52,025
  • Note: 50 m Potential capacity is based on 10D by 5D spacing (D = rotor diameter) of 50 m high turbines in class 3 or better wind with moderate exclusions.[31]

[2] 40,000 at 70 m[32]

Wind power in Texas

Wind power in Texas consists of many wind farms with a total installed capacity of 9,410 MW.[33] Some of the larger wind farms in Texas include the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, Sweetwater Wind Farm, King Mountain Wind Farm, Roscoe Wind Farm, Desert Sky Wind Farm, Woodward Mt. I & II, and Brazos Wind Ranch.[34]

The Roscoe Wind Farm in Roscoe, Texas is the world's largest wind farm with 627 wind turbines and a total installed capacity of 781.5 MW, which surpasses the nearby 735.5 MW Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center. It is located about 200 miles (320 km) west of Fort Worth and the wind farm area spans parts of four Texas counties.[35][36]

Expansion of wind power capacity will help Texas meet its renewable energy goal of 5,000 megawatts of new power from renewable sources by 2015.[37]

Wind power in California

Wind power in California has been an area of considerable activity for many years. California was the first U.S. state where large wind farms were developed, beginning in the early 1980s.[38] By 1995, California produced 30 percent of the entire world's wind-generated electricity.[39] In 2004, California produced 4,258 million kilowatt-hours of electricity, roughly 1.5 percent of the total energy consumed by the state each year.[39]

More than 13,000 of California's wind turbines, or 95 percent of all of California's wind output, are located in three primary regions: Altamont Pass Wind Farm (east of San Francisco); Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm (south east of Bakersfield), and San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm (near Palm Springs, east of Los Angeles).[39]

Largest wind farms

As of December 2008, these are some of the largest wind farms in the United States:

Farm Installed
capacity
(MW)
Yearly
production
(TW·h)
State Developer/Owner
Altamont Pass Wind Farm 576[40]
1.1
California NextEra Energy Resources
Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center 736[citation needed] Texas NextEra Energy Resources
Capricorn Ridge Wind Farm 662 Texas NextEra Energy Resources
Fowler Ridge Wind Farm* 750[41][42] Indiana Dominion/BP Wind Energy
Roscoe Wind Farm 781[43] Texas E.ON Climate and Renewables
San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm 619 California
Sweetwater Wind Farm 585[citation needed] Texas Babcock & Brown Wind/Duke Energy
Tehachapi Pass Wind Farm 690
1.3[44]
California Southern California Edison

* Under construction

The majority of the San Gorgonio Pass Wind Farm as viewed from the San Jacinto Mountains to the south. (The farm continues over the hills to the north along California State Route 62 and is not visible from this vantagepoint). The layout includes a variety of large modern and older smaller turbine designs

Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center is the world's largest wind farm at 735.5 megawatt (MW) capacity. It consists of 291  GE 1.5 MW Wind Turbines and 130 Siemens 2.3 MW wind turbines spread over nearly 47,000 acres (190 km²) of land in Taylor and Nolan County, Texas.[45] The first phase of the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center consisted of 213 MW and was completed in late 2005; phase two consisted of 223.5 MW and was completed in the second quarter of 2006; phase three which consisted of 299 MW, was completed by the end of 2006.[45]

The Fowler Ridge Wind Farm is currently under construction in Benton County, Indiana. The wind farm will be completed in two phases and will have a maximum generating capacity of 750 MW total. The first phase of the project, consisting of 222 wind turbines, will bring the first 400 MW on-line by the end of 2008. Phase 2 (350 MW) could begin in early 2009.[46]

A proposed 4,000 MW facility, called the Pampa Wind Project, is to be located near Pampa, Texas, with the first 1,000 MW to come online by 2011.

Wind power industry

In the past, the U.S. wind industry relied largely on imported components; however, there has been a shift towards domestic manufacturing that is likely to continue. Since 2005 many turbine manufacturing leaders have opened U.S. facilities; of the top 10 global manufacturers in 2007, seven — Vestas, GE Energy, Gamesa, Suzlon, Siemens, Acciona, and Nordex — have an American manufacturing presence. In addition, Clipper Windpower, which is based in the U.S., has joined GE as a major domestic player in the production of utility-scale wind turbines, with the two companies together accounting for 50% of the 2008 domestic turbine market.[47]

As of April 2009, over 100 companies are producing components for wind turbines, employing thousands of workers in the manufacture of parts as varied as towers, composite blades, bearings and gears. Many existing companies in traditional manufacturing states have retooled to enter the wind industry. Their manufacturing facilities are spread across 40 states, employing workers from the Southeast to the Steel Belt, to the Great Plains and on to the Pacific Northwest.[47]

Plans for 30 new manufacturing facilities were announced in 2008, and the wind industry expects to see a continued shift towards domestic manufacturing in the coming years. In total, 70 manufacturing facilities have begun production, been expanded, or announced since January 2007.[47]

Government involvement

Kaheawa Wind Farm near Maalaea, Maui, with 20 GE Energy 1.5 MW wind turbines

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) will work with six leading wind turbine manufacturers over the next 2 years towards achieving 20% wind power in the United States by 2030. The DOE announced the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with GE Energy, Siemens Power Generation, Vestas Wind Systems, Clipper Windpower, Suzlon Energy, and Gamesa Corporation. Under the MOU, the DOE and the six manufacturers will collaborate to gather and exchange information relating to five major areas: research and development related to turbine reliability and operability; siting strategies for wind power facilities; standards development for turbine certification and universal interconnection of wind turbines; manufacturing advances in design, process automation, and fabrication techniques; and workforce development.[48][49]

In addition, the DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has announced a number of wind technology projects, including a new state-of-the-art wind turbine blade test facility to be build in Ingleside, Texas. The Texas-NREL Large Blade Research and Test Facility will be capable of testing blades as long as 70 meters (230 feet). It will be built and operated through a partnership among NREL, DOE, and a state consortium led by University of Houston, with the university owning and operating the facility's buildings, DOE funding up to $2 million in capital costs, and NREL providing technical and operational assistance. The blade test facility is estimated to cost between $12 million and $15 million and should be completed by 2010. Located on the Gulf Coast, the Texas facility will complement a similar facility that is being built on the coast of Massachusetts.[50]

NREL has also recently signed agreements with Siemens Power Generation and First Wind, a wind power developer. Siemens is launching a new research and development facility in nearby Boulder, Colorado, and has agreed to locate and test a commercial-scale wind turbine at NREL's National Wind Technology Center (NWTC). First Wind (formerly called UPC Wind Partners, LLC) owns and operates the 30-megawatt Kaheawa Wind Power farm in West Maui, Hawaii, and has agreed to let the NWTC establish a Remote Research Affiliate Partner Site at the facility. The Maui satellite of NWTC will collaborate with First Wind on studies to develop advanced wind energy technologies, including energy storage and integration of renewable electricity into Maui's electrical grid.[51]

In July 2008, Texas approved a $4.93 billion expansion of the state's electric grid to bring wind energy to its major cities. Transmission companies will recoup the cost of constructing the new power lines, expected to be completed in 2013, from fees estimated at $4 per month for residential customers.[52]

The Green Power Express is a proposal for an electric power transmission grid that would transmit up to 12,000 MW of wind generated power from the Dakotas, Minnesota, and Iowa to the Chicago area and to southeastern U.S. states.[53] The system would add some 3,000 miles of extra high voltage (765 kilovolt) transmission lines.[54] It has received some approvals from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission of the U.S. government.

Tax credits

A federal production tax credit (PTC) of $19 per MW·h generated for the first ten years for wind energy sold as well as RPS mandating a certain percentage of electricity sales come from renewable energy sources in about half of the states has boosted the development of the wind industry. At the time the wind power tax credit was due to expire at the end of the year, and the display was intended to bring awareness to the wind industry. Each year that the tax credit has not been renewed well before it expires the number of installations has dropped significantly the following year, and since it was not renewed until October 3, it is expected that 2009 will as well see a slowing of construction starts.[55] The 30% tax credit for installing photovoltaics was extended at the same time for eight years, but wind for only one year. The industry has asked for a long term extension, in order to provide stability, particularly because projects of long lead times for project development and construction (2 to 3 years of wind data collection, 2 years lead time on turbine orders, and 6 to 9 months for construction.)

A recent effort has ensued to make the production tax credit either refundable or transferable. Because wind energy projects do not provide returns sufficient to capture the full value of the PTC on their own, the PTCs are not currently refundable or tradable, the owner of a wind energy project must either have profits from other activities to provide "tax appetite" or include a tax equity partner in the project financing. In the fourth quarter of 2008 the cost of tax equity capital shot up as a response to the global credit crisis, making the cost of energy from wind energy projects increase by 10% or more.

Additional income for farmers

There is competition for wind farms among farmers in places like Iowa or ranchers in Colorado. Farmers, with no investment on their part, typically receive $3,000–5,000 per year in royalties[56] from the local utility for siting a single, large, advanced-design wind turbine, which occupies a quarter-acre of land.[57][58][59][60][61]

Aesthetics, the environment and quality of life

Landscape and ecological issues may be significant for some wind farm proposals.[62] However, when appropriate planning procedures for site selection are followed environmental problems should be minimal. Some people may still object to wind farms, but their concerns should be weighed against the need to address the threats posed by climate change and fossil fuel depletion, the need for energy security, and the opinions of the broader community.[63][64]

Worldwide experience has shown that community consultation and direct involvement of the general public in wind farm projects has helped to increase community approval,[65] and some wind farms overseas have become tourist attractions.[64][66]

In July 2008, oilman T. Boone Pickens emerged as a vocal advocate of wind power, although he later scaled it back due to problems with financing.[8]

Massachusetts

In Massachusetts, the Cape Wind project, a proposal to construct 130 offshore wind turbines in Nantucket Sound, has been the subject of heavy debate for many years[67] in the affluent communities of Cape Cod, Martha's Vineyard, and Nantucket, as well as among environmentalists.

Offshore wind power

In June 2009, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar issued five exploratory leases for wind power production on the Outer Continental Shelf offshore from New Jersey and Delaware. The leases authorize data gathering activities, allowing for the construction of meteorological towers on the Outer Continental Shelf from six to 18 miles offshore.[68]

Rhode Island

At the state level, a goal was set in 2004 by the governor of having 15% of electricity come from renewable sources by 2020. As of 2008, Rhode Island has less than a quarter of one percent of its energy coming from in-state renewable sources.

State officials picked Deepwater Wind to build a $1.5-billion, 385-megawatt wind farm in federal waters off Block Island. The 100-turbine project could provide 1.3 terawatt-hours (TW·h) of electricity per year — 15 percent of all electricity used in the state.[69][70][71] In 2009, Deepwater signed an agreement with National Grid to sell the power from a $200-million, 30-MW wind farm off Block Island, at an initial price of 24.4 ¢/kW·h.[72]

See also

References

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External links


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V47-660kW wind turbine at American Wind Power Center in Lubbock, Texas]]

Wind power in the United States is a growing industry. In 2007, the United States was the fastest growing wind power market in the world for the third year in a row.[1]

At the end of August 2008 the United States wind power installed nameplate capacity was 20,152 MW, which is enough to serve 5 million average households. $9 billion was invested in 5,329 megawatts of new U.S. wind power capacity in 2007, causing the total U.S. wind power capacity to increase by 46%.[1] Wind power accounted for 35% of all new U.S. electric generating capacity in 2007. American wind farms will generate an estimated 48 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of wind energy in 2008, just over 1.5% of U.S. electricity supply.[2] In addition, new transmission facilities under development throughout the country should allow the future development of at least another 200,000 megawatts of wind power.

The growing U.S. wind market spurred new investment in turbine and component manufacturing plants, with enough new and planned facilities to create more than 4,700 new U.S. jobs.

Most new wind power capacity is being built in the central region of the United States. States with most wind capacity installed (to end of 2008) are shown in the Table below.

State Existing
capacity
(MW)[3]
Under
construction
(MW)[3]
Texas 7,116 1,651
Iowa 2,790 20
California 2,517 275
Minnesota 1,752 0
Washington 1,375 70
Colorado 1,068 0
Oregon 1,067 201
Illinois 915 201
New York 832 464
Kansas 815 199

Other pages

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation
  2. Installed Wind Capacity Surged 45% in 2007
  3. 3.0 3.1 State Total Power Capacities (MW)








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