Last year, 42% of new electricity generating capacity in the United States came from onshore wind power – more than any other source – according to figures in a series of Department of Energy reports ( DOE) this week. In contrast, solar only represented 38% of new capacity last year.
It measures capacity, which is the maximum amount of electricity produced under ideal conditions, while actual energy output can be much less than this ideal amount when the wind is turning.
Although the capacity and production of electricity from wind can vary from region to region, onshore wind is now a powerful and intermittent source of energy in the United States, according to a study by Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory of the DOE. Wind added a record 16,836 MW of electrical capacity to U.S. energy infrastructure in 2020, representing an investment of around $ 24.6 billion in new wind power.
Last year, the DOE noted, wind power was able to supply more than half of the state’s electricity production and sales in some states. Iowa leads the pack with wind power, which provides 57% of the state’s electricity generation. However, Iowa has a lot of wind turbines, and not a very large population.
Typically, the wind is used to generate electricity for the electrical industry on fall and spring nights and during the winter season. (Along the Texas Gulf Coast, wind power is visible in the late afternoon or early evening during the summer.)
The growth in onshore wind power in the United States last year was in part due to production tax credits, which are expected to be phased out, encouraging growth beyond this event horizon.
Improvements in wind technology have also helped encourage onshore wind development. Compared to older wind turbines, the latest models have taller towers with longer blades which can generate more power when hit in strong wind.
In addition to onshore wind farms, there are many ongoing offshore wind developments in the country. But last year, offshore wind farms were still not operational in much of the United States.
The 2021 DOE Offshore Wind Market report instead focuses on the “pipelines” of offshore initiatives. The report states that in 2020, the offshore gas pipeline “reached a potential generating capacity of 35,324 megawatts (MW), an increase of 24% from the previous year.
The Block Island wind farm, off Rhode Island, and the Coastal Virginia offshore wind pilot project (off the coast of Virginia Beach) US One Other, Vineyard Wind 1, are the first two offshore wind farms to be put into operation. service in the South. Nantucket, Mass., Has obtained all the permits and contracts to sell its electricity and deliver it to the grid.
The DOE report says there are 15 other offshore wind projects in the pipeline that have reached the authorization stage, and that seven wind farms could be leased in the future at the discretion of the federal government.
The Biden administration wants to expand U.S. offshore wind capacity to 30 gigawatts by 2030 as part of its goal of achieving a carbon-free energy sector by 2035.
All forms of wind power, as well as other forms of clean energy, will be needed to meet the demand for electricity in the United States while reducing greenhouse gas emissions.