America: More Wind Power Potential than We Thought

Posted by Andrew Price

We have another analysis of wind power potential in the United States and this one is pretty comprehensive.The report was done by by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and a renewable energy consulting firm called AWS Truewind. Its big finding, as Alexis Madrigal reports, is that "current wind technology deployed in nonenvironmentally protected areas could generate 37,000,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity per year."To put that in perspective, the United States currently uses 3,000,000 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year. So if we were to exclude protected lands, parks, wilderness, urban area, airports, wetland, and water features, and blanket the remaining area in currently available wind turbines we could generate America's total energy needs 12 times over.The report also looked at wind power potential by state. Here (via Wired) are the top 10:wind-energy-potential-1Wind power has been growing in the United States. From Renewable Energy Focus:

Last year, the US wind industry added 10 GW of new capacity, enough to power 2.4 million homes or generate as much electricity as three large nuclear reactors. The wind turbine fleet in place at the end of 2009 (35 GW) is enough to power 9.7 million homes, and that number is increasing at 1 million homes every five months.
And wind power is starting to creep in and replace coal here and there. The Tennessee Valley Authority, which has been infamous for its dirty energy production, just signed a 20-year contract to buy wind power from Iowa.A national renewable energy standard would really help this whole effort along.