Wind Powering America Update

April 14, 2011

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(PowerPoint 33.7 MB)

This presentation gives a broad yet comprehensive overview of wind energy in the United States. It uses maps and charts to quickly show the past and current status of wind energy development issues in the United States. Illustrations include:

  • Rotor diameter and energy output increases as commercial wind technology evolves in the United States between 1980 and 2020.
  • Increased turbine size, research and development advances, and manufacturing improvements increased the amount of energy wind turbines produce, thus contributing to decreased wind energy costs and making wind energy competitive in today's wholesale energy market.
  • The United States has experienced 5 years of strong growth. In 2009, the United States was the second larget market in the world (behind China) in wind capacity additions; it was the largest market in terms of cumulative capacity.
  • Four states have achieved greater than 10 percent wind. Texas continues to lead in capacity.
  • The United States lags behind other countries for wind as a percentage of electricity consumption. Wind represents just 2.4% of the United States' electricity supply, while that percentage is as high as 20% in Denmark, 14% in Portugal, 13% in Spain, 11% in Ireland, and 8% in Germany. The prospects for future growth are substantial.
  • Wind is a major source of new generation capacity additions: 2000-2004, less than 5%; 2005, 12%; 2006, 18%; 2007, 35%; 2008, 42%; 2009, 39%. After a long period of decline, installed project costs bottomed out between 2001 and 2004 and have risen by roughly $800/kW, on average, through 2009, while wholesale prices have recently plummeted (with natural gas prices). Interconnection queues are clogged with wind projects, nearly 300 GW. A map of the United States shows installed wind capacity today compared to 1999.
  • Wind power drivers include declining wind costs, fuel price uncertainty, federal and state policies, economic development, environment, public support, green power, energy security, and carbon risk.
  • Slides illustrate the generation cost of wind compared to other generation sources, natural gas and coal historic prices, wind cost drivers (steel prices, copper prices), and carbon dioxide prices significantly increasing the cost of coal.
  • A map of the United States illustrates Renewable Portfolio Standards by state. Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) is the term for legislation mandating that power suppliers obtain a percentage of their power mix from renewable resources. The demand for renewable energy is greater than the amount that can be supplied at the current time.
  • A map of the United States shows states with green power programs.
  • A slide shows some wind energy investors; another slide illustrates that windy rural areas need economic development. Economic development impacts discussed are land lease payments, local property tax, and jobs.
  • A map of the United States shows that soaring demand for wind energy spurs the expansion of U.S. wind turbine manufacturing.
  • A slide lists environmental benefits: no sulfur oxides, nitrogen oxides, no particulates, no mercury, no carbon dioxide, no water.
  • A slide highlights water issues.
  • A slide highlights case studies and local ownership models.
  • A slide lists key wind power issues.
  • A slide discusses the 20 percent wind scenario, market challenges, job creation, water savings, carbon savings, and the resulting costs and benefits.
  • The conclusion is that 20% wind energy penetration is possible; 20% penetration is not going to happen under business as usual scenario; policy choices will have a large impact on assessing the timing and rate of achieving a 20% goal; key issues are: market transformation, transmission, project diversity, technology development, policy, and public acceptance.