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US Envisions A New Era For Wind Power

A new report published by the US Department of Energy seeks to develop a new “Wind Vision,” which aims to document the contributions wind has made to date, and the continuing and growing contributions it can make to the country’s national energy portfolio.

The report, authored by the US Department of Energy, in collaboration with industry, environmental organizations, academic institutions, and national laboratories, concludes that wind can become one of the nation’s largest sources of electricity. Wind Vision: A New Era of Wind Power in the United States is the result of two years of research and peer review, conducted in conjunction with the White House.

“With utility-scale wind turbines installed in 39 states, wind energy accounts for 4.5 percent of our nation’s annual electricity generation,” explains Jose Zayas, of the Department of Energy’s Wind and Water Power Technologies Office. “At this level, wind energy already supports more than 50,000 industry-related jobs in manufacturing, construction, operations and maintenance, and supporting services, all while improving the environment and strengthening our economy.”

The question asked by the authors of the report? “So, what could the United States energy picture look like in 2020, 2030, and 2050, and what is the role of wind?”

Three scenarios were created by the authors of the report — a Baseline Scenario, a Business-as-Usual Scenario, and a Study Scenario, the last of which was used to evaluate the competitiveness of the US wind industry today, and into the future. As depicted below, the Study Scenario — which represents 10% wind supply by 2020, 20% by 2030, and 35% by 2050 — results in a number of cumulative savings, benefits, and impacts by 2050:


“We can do this and save you money by doing it,” responded Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “This definitive report provides the wind industry with aggressive targets for the growth of wind energy in America, and we stand ready to meet them. It starts with getting common-sense policies in place, so we can double U.S. wind energy in the next five years.”

“This report documents how wind energy already provides major economic and environmental benefits to America, including protecting consumers against energy price spikes, and making deep cuts in pollution and water use,” commented John Kostyack, Executive Director of the Wind Energy Foundation. “As wind becomes one of the country’s top sources of electricity, Wind Vision promises even bigger benefits for decades to come.”

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