According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2017 Wind Technologies Market Report, wind power had a big year.
Over 7,000 MW of new capacity was added in the United States, and over 2,000 MW of upgrades to existing wind turbines were completed. $11 billion was invested in wind energy in the U.S. in 2017.
Over the last 10 years, wind power has constituted 55% and 44% of the electric-generating capacity additions in the Interior and Great Lakes regions of the U.S., respectively.
While the U.S. is second to China in terms of wind power capacity and annual wind/electricity generation, the U.S. remains well down the list compared to other countries in wind energy penetration. For instance, as of the end of 2017, wind power supplied about 48% of the electricity demand in Denmark; in the U.S., it’s about 7%.
However, on an individual U.S. state basis, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota used wind to supply over 30% of “all in-state electricity generation in 2017.” And, “14 states exceeded 10% wind energy penetration.”
While wind “is a variable source of energy”, it is very comparable to hydroelectric energy in the percentage of time that electricity is being sent to the grid; each are in the range of 34 to 38% of the time.
Also, the cost of wind energy continues to decline–down to as low as $20 per megawatt-hour (compared to $102 per megawatt-hour for coal). In addition, improved wind turbine technology (especially larger rotors) allow new wind turbines to produce over 220% more electricity than “turbines built 20 years ago.”
Read the article (Megan Geuss, Ars Technica, August 27, 2018)