Wind energy had a big year in 2017

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)

For more information about wind energy or wind power, search the Science Primary Literature Database and the Headline Science Database.


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