What are we waiting for? The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) has released new assessments of state wind resources, and the good news is we have more wind potential than we thought. The bad news is we are not doing everything we can to take advantage of it.
Onshore U.S. wind resources could generate nearly 37,000,000 gigawatt- hours (GWh) annually, more than nine times current total U.S. electricity consumption.
These larger estimates are due to improved wind turbine technology, as today’s taller turbines tap better winds at higher elevations (this study measured winds at 80 meters), and to more refined wind measurements. The previous national government survey of U.S. wind resources, carried out by the Pacific Northwest Laboratory, estimated U.S. wind potential at 10,777,000 GWh.
AWEA CEO Denise Bode noted the new assessments, saying, “This new analysis confirms that America is blessed with vast wind resources that can energize our economy, create jobs, and avoid carbon for years to come—if we give ourselves the policy tools to do so, including a strong national Renewable Electricity Standard.”