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