Story at a glance
- The Department of Energy documents record wind power growth in 2020.
- Twenty-five states saw new wind turbine installations, and 16 received more than 10 percent of their energy from wind farms.
- More construction and investment in the wind turbine sector aid the Biden administration’s plan for a net zero economy by 2050.
The wind power sector is booming in the U.S., with a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) highlighting the growth of wind energy operations in the nation, as part of President Biden’s larger plan to get the U.S. to net zero emissions by 2035.
More than 16,000 megawatts of U.S. wind power-generating capacity was installed in 2020, a record yearly figure. It marks the first time wind power developments outpaced solar power installations, culminating in $24.6 billion in investment across 25 states.
Sixteen states total get more than 10 percent of electricity from land-based wind generation, with some in the midwest like Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota and North Dakota getting more than 30 percent of their power from wind installations.
“These reports contain such terrific news: the U.S. installed a record-breaking amount of land-based wind energy last year. They underscore both the progress made and the capacity for much more affordable wind power to come – all necessary to reach President Biden’s goal of a decarbonized electricity sector by 2035,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “At DOE, we will double down on efforts to deploy more wind energy around the country as we also pursue technologies to make turbines even cheaper and more efficient.”
This growth applies to both onshore and offshore wind turbine installations.
Coastal states like New York, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia are all seeing major development in wind turbines located on the water. Some notable projects include the Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island and the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind pilot, as well as the Vineyard Wind I project in Massachusetts waters.
Overall, these installations contributed to a 24-percent increase in offshore wind energy pipeline construction in U.S. waters.
Declining turbine prices have helped spur greater federal and municipal investment in wind power, along with the average increases in size and power of the hardware itself. The DOE estimates that the cost of wind turbines have “steeply” dropped, falling to $770-$850 per kilowatt from $1,800 per kilowatt in 2008.
Growth in the wind energy sector is also sustainable, with wind turbines producing no carbon emissions that contribute to warming global temperatures. Establishing a stronger clean energy sector is critical to the Biden Administration’s lofty goals of reaching a net zero economy by 2050.
This is the latest chapter in the U.S.’s steady rise to lead the world in renewable energy developments. China is the only nation included in the report that is outpacing the U.S. in energy generated from wind power.