A story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune highlights the increasingly common use of 100 meter wind turbines for new wind power projects, up from the previous 80 meter standard. The technological change grabs more wind energy, with consistently higher wind speeds at higher altitudes, meaning states can get even more power from a similar number of turbines.
In our 2010 report Energy Self-Reliant States, we illustrated the potential for state self-reliance on wind power with the following map, using NREL data that assumed turbine heights of 80 meters (and a minimum capacity factor of 35%, to be conservative). The following two maps show the potential state self-reliance on wind power at the previous 80 meter turbine height and at the new 100 meter turbine height (with a minimum capacity factor of 30% or greater). See the original article for a handy mouseover option.
The taller turbines mean that five more states are able to get 100% or more of their electricity from wind power (for a total of 27) and 30 states could get at least half their electricity from in-state wind power alone.
This post originally appeared on ILSR’s Energy Self-Reliant States blog.
John Farrell directs the Energy Self-Reliant States and Communities program at ILSR and he focuses on energy policy developments that best expand the benefits of local ownership and dispersed generation of renewable energy. His latest paper, Democratizing the Electricity System, describes how to blast the roadblocks to distributed renewable energy generation, and how such small-scale renewable energy projects are the key to the biggest strides in renewable energy development. Farrell also authored the landmark report Energy Self-Reliant States, which serves as the definitive energy atlas for the United States, detailing the state-by-state renewable electricity generation potential. Farrell regularly provides discussion and analysis of distributed renewable energy policy on his blog, Energy Self-Reliant States (energyselfreliantstates.org), and articles are regularly syndicated on Grist and Renewable Energy World. John Farrell can also be found on Twitter @johnffarrell, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.