Why Wind Power Is Finally Taking Off In America

Why Wind Power Is Finally Taking Off in America

Last year saw a lot of wind turbines and farms being built. So many, that in 2015, the wind industry installed more electricity-generating capacity than any other energy source in America. That's enough to power 19 million American homes. Today, the American Wind Energy Association announced that there are now 8.6 gigawatts of wind power capacity on the national US electrical grid. That's more than the 7.3 gigawatts of electricity-generating potential from solar panels installed last year and much more than the 6 gigawatts installed by natural gas. That 8.6-gigawatt number is especially important because wind power should keep growing at a steady clip.

"Wind's growth is being propelled by cost reductions of two-thirds over the last six years, which now makes wind the lowest-cost source of new generation," said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), this week. "It's one of the biggest, fastest, cheapest ways we can reduce U.S. carbon emissions, and the low-cost solution for power sector reductions."

But we've still got a ways to go. The US Department of Energy wants wind to power 20 per cent of America's energy by 2030. And countries like Denmark are lightyears ahead, having already produced enough wind energy that outstripped national demand. For now though, literal winds of change are afoot.

[American Wind Energy Association]

Image: David McNew / Getty Images


Comments

    Where are the smaller vent axial wind turbines? For home use. It would be nice to see more of these as part of energy democracy.

    So the USA put enough wind farms in to power every house in Australia. What our excuse again? oh thats right coal...

      You're the man with name I want to touch, but I mustn't touch....

      Not sure about other projects but we have a $1.5 billion dollar wind farm project approved for SA on the yorke penisula. It will have an underwater cable through spencer gulf to Adelaide. It will come close to being able to power the entire city. Google "ceres project"

      Honestly, I'm boggled Australia doesn't use its uranium for power.
      You've got the population.
      You've got the uranium.
      You've got the expertise.
      You've got suitable disposal locations.
      But it can't happen so long as Australians credit ignorant activists over 'experts' with 'PHDs'.
      (Note: 'ignorant' is not about what you don't know, it's about what you refuse to know, thus the root-word 'ignore'.)

      "So the USA put enough wind farms in to power every house in Australia. What our excuse again?" Are you serious? Look at that photo, is that how you want our countryside to look? Wind turbines are a blight on the landscape. There have to be better alternatives than destroying the natural beauty of our country just so you can watch GoT.

        Wind turbines are beautiful, that is precisely how I want the countryside to look.
        Extremely arrogant to assume that everyone in the world agrees with your aesthetics.
        Extremely arrogant to tell a farmer what they can put on their own damn land.

        Take a drive through a coal mining landscape, ie. upper hunter valley.

        Beyond the amazing mountain moving activities (hidden behind large berms and strips of verdure), you would have to admit that the land under mining lease is a bit less desirable than the land under a wind farm, at least plants still grow, cropping continues and animals graze in a wind farm (or even a pv solar farm with high set, spaced out panel arrays).

        Wind farms don't cause wind drift of ultra fine particles causing lung disease to nearby residents.

        Yes the coal mine only remains in situ for 30-40 years and the land is afterwards "rehabilitated" (for a price, not environmental perfection), yes it generates a lot more energy (mainly for foreign powers at very low rates of return 2014-2016) but once it moves on, the resource is gone for good, so is the future land productivity on many cases.

    How's that electricity your using going? You know the stuffed generated by coal that happens to destroy the natural beauty of our country, just so you can watch GoT.

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