Renewable energies continue to grow year after year in America, which is crucial in the fight against global warming. But one specific type of renewable energy has come to stand out from the rest: wind power. The wind power industry is growing rapidly, so much so that wind is now the primary source of renewable energy in the United States. It has now overtaken hydropower as a source of renewable energy.
According to data from the US Energy Information Administration, wind power generated around 300 million megawatt hours (MWh) in 2019. Hydroelectric power came in second among renewable energy sources with just over 270 million MWh. All other sources were significantly lower.
Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), said in a statement that the wind power industry is growing rapidly.
âThe last decade has seen a steady increase in wind capacity across the country and we capped the decade with a monumental achievement for the industry reaching over 100 GW,â Kiernan said. âWith all this capacity in the ground, wind projects were able to provide 7.2% of the country’s electricity in 2019. This means that US wind farms can power more than 32 million homes from nearly 60,000 wind turbines rotating in 41 states. The industry takes pride in providing consumers with clean, affordable energy that keeps utility costs stable and avoids carbon emissions contributing to climate change. “
As the map below shows, most wind farms in the United States are concentrated in the center of the country, from Minnesota to Texas.
You might think that wind power would be concentrated in predominantly liberal states, but the majority of wind farms seem to be in conservative states. We can see the same thing with solar energy. As Reverse reported in February, solar power is growing rapidly in a number of red states. States that were previously largely dependent on coal and other sources of fossil fuels are now addicted to solar.
Although the Southeast does not produce much wind power, AWEA data shows that there are many wind-related manufacturing facilities in this region. Just because these states don’t produce a lot of wind power doesn’t mean they’re not involved in the wind power industry. Data shows that the vast majority of states have facilities that produce wind-related parts and materials.
A Cornell University study last month found that the United States could triple its wind power by 2030 by simply adding more wind turbines in areas where there are already wind farms. If we did that, we could get about 20% of our energy from these wind farms. This would eliminate 825 million metric tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. According to the IPCC, renewable energies must produce 70 to 85% of our energy by 2050 to avoid the worst effects of climate change.
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Given that the coal industry is in decline, we are running out of time to stop climate change, and it is becoming cheaper to obtain energy from renewable sources than fossil fuels, it seems that the wind power has a bright and important future. Even though some politicians don’t believe in climate change and want to stay dependent on fossil fuels, the momentum behind renewables is going to be hard to stop.