Wind Energy Today
Wind energy today is a fast growing source of renewable energy technology. Ever since the modern wind turbine was built in the late 1800’s, newer technological advances have greatly improved the quality and efficiency of wind turbines. Technological advancements have also helped by steadily decreasing the cost of building wind turbines over the last few decades.
Unfortunately, the amount of wind energy used today is only a small fraction of the overall production of energy world-wide. There are many untapped areas with high potential for wind turbine locations that are left untouched because the cost, although decreasing, is still relatively high.
The United States currently has a wind power nameplate capacity of around 44,000 MW. This number is a maximum capacity of output, so the United States capacity is a maximum number for the potential output of wind energy today in the US.
Take a quick look on how much wind energy capacity output has increased over the last decade. Remember these are nameplate capacities of the total capacity year by year starting in 1999 in the United States:
1999 – 2,473 MW
2000 – 2,529 MW
2001 – 4,232 MW
2002 – 4,687 MW
2003 – 6,350 MW
2004 – 6,723 MW
2005 – 9,147 MW
2006 – 11, 575 MW
2007 – 16, 906 MW
2008 – 25, 410 MW
2009 – 34, 863 MW
2010 – 40,267 MW
2011 – 43, 461 MW
Notice that the capacity output of wind energy today has greatly increased over the last decade in the United States.
Modern wind turbines are now more efficient and less expensive to build. Also, new government tax incentives that came into existence around 2008 sparked a huge yearly increase in capacity output over the following years.
Texas leads the United States with the most wind energy produced today, with an installed capacity of just over 10,000 MW. Iowa is in second place with an installed capacity of around 4,000 MW.
Wind energy accounts for only a small percentage (around 3%) of the electrical output produced in the United States today, but there are many leading scientist and initiatives that believe that wind energy could take on as much as 20% of the electrical output in the United States by 2030.