U.S. Wind Energy Potential Is Three Times Higher Than Previously Estimated

New estimates for wind energy potential are blowing us away! The United States has the potential to create nine times as much energy by wind annually as was created by all energy sources combined in 2009.
From EERE Network News
February 24, 2010
Add to My MSN

Improved wind turbine design and technology are partly responsible for the rise in wind energy potential.
PHOTO: ISTOCKPHOTO


Content Tools

Related Content

Shade Grade Inserts from Indow Windows

Make your home more energy efficient with Indow Windows Shade Grade.

Easier Shopping for Energy-Efficient Windows

When shopping for new windows, take advantage of these helpful resources.

World Nuclear Electricity Generation Down 5 Percent Since 2006

World nuclear electricity-generating capacity has been essentially flat since 2007 and is likely to ...

What the Spike in Solar Users Means for You and Utility Companies

Utility companies and solar power companies are vying for customers' business. See how that affects ...

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently released new estimates of the United States’ wind energy potential, which tripled previous estimates of the size of the nation's wind resources. The new study, which was carried out by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and AWS Truewind, finds that the contiguous 48 states have the potential to generate up to 37 million gigawatt hours annually. To put that in perspective, total U.S. electricity generation from all sources was roughly 4 million gigawatt hours in 2009. The estimates show the total energy yield that could be generated using current wind turbine technology on the nation's windy lands. (The estimates show what is possible, not what will actually be developed.)

Along with the state-by-state estimates of wind energy potential, NREL and AWS Truewind have developed wind resource maps for the United States and for the contiguous 48 states that show the predicted average wind speeds at an 80-meter height. The wind resource maps and estimates provide local, state, and national policymakers with accurate information about the nature of the wind resource in their areas and across the nation, helping them to make informed decisions about wind energy in their communities.

Why Has Wind Energy Potential Gone Up?

The new estimates reflect substantial advances in wind turbine technology that have occurred since the Department of Energy's last national wind resource assessments were conducted in 1993. For example, previous wind resource maps showed predicted average wind speeds at a height of 50 meters, which was the height of most wind turbine towers at the time. The new maps show predicted average wind speeds at an 80-meter height, the height of today's turbines. Because wind speed generally increases with height, turbines built on taller towers can capture more energy and generate more electricity. The new estimates also incorporate updated capacity factors, reflecting improvements in wind turbine design and performance.


Reprinted from EERE Network News, a free newsletter from the U.S. Department of Energy.







Post a comment below.

 








Subscribe Today - Pay Now & Save 66% Off the Cover Price

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Lighten the Strain on the Earth and Your Budget

MOTHER EARTH NEWS is the guide to living — as one reader stated — “with little money and abundant happiness.” Every issue is an invaluable guide to leading a more sustainable life, covering ideas from fighting rising energy costs and protecting the environment to avoiding unnecessary spending on processed food. You’ll find tips for slashing heating bills; growing fresh, natural produce at home; and more. MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you cut costs without sacrificing modern luxuries.

At MOTHER EARTH NEWS, we are dedicated to conserving our planet’s natural resources while helping you conserve your financial resources. That’s why we want you to save money and trees by subscribing through our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. By paying with a credit card, you save an additional $5 and get 6 issues of MOTHER EARTH NEWS for only $12.00 (USA only).

You may also use the Bill Me option and pay $17.00 for 6 issues.