Energy Department Reports Show Strong Growth of U.S. Wind Power

By Energy.Gov

Annual reports analyzing the wind energyWind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. By 2010, a single wind turbine can produce several MW of electric power. industry released today by the Energy Department show continued rapid growth in wind powerWind power is the conversion of wind energy into a useful form, such as electricity, using wind turbines. By 2010, a single wind turbine can produce several MW of electric power. installations in 2015, demonstrating market resilience and underscoring the vitality of the U.S. windWind occurs due to different temperature levels in the atmosphere (troposphere) which are heated up by the sun. A typical example are the trade winds at the equator where the sun is most powerful. energy market on a global scale. Wind power provides clean energy to homes and businesses, reduces climate-changing carbon pollution, and boosts America’s economic competitiveness. The U.S. wind power market remained strong in 2015 thanks to continued low prices, more-efficient wind turbinesA wind turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from the flow of wind. The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft with blades attached. Wind energy acts on the blades, or the blades react to wind, so that they rotate and impart energy to the rotor. ..., and fast-growing demand nationwide.

solar and wind power

“Sustained low wind energy prices and solid growth in installations helped make 2015 one of the best years for our nation’s renewable energyRenewable energy is power generated from infinite sources, such as wind or solar power. Conventional energy is generated from finite sources, such as natural gas or fossil oil. market,” said Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy EfficiencyUsing less energy/electricity to perform the same function. Programs designed to use electricity more efficiently - doing the same with less. and Renewable Energy David Friedman. “These reports show that with more American homes and businesses powered by wind energy than ever before, our nation’s clean energy future is bright.”

Wind Technologies Market Report

According to the 2015 Wind Technologies Market Report released today by the Energy Department and its Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the United States ranks second in the world for wind power capacity and remains first in the world for electricity generated from wind power. Total installed wind power capacity from turbines rated at more than 100 kilowatts in the United States grew at an impressive rate of 12% in 2015 and stands at nearly 74 gigawatts, meeting an estimated 5.6% of U.S. end-use electricityElectricity generation includes all technologies that turn some form of energy into useful electric energy. Electricity is a form of energy that has magnetic, radiant and chemical effects. Electric current is created by a flow of electrons. demand in an average year. The nearly 8.6 gigawatts of capacity installed during 2015—representing more new deployment than any other electricity source—is a 77% increase over total installations in 2014. More than 4,300 utility-scale wind turbines were installed across 64 projectsProject is an intervention designed to achieve specific objectives within specified resources and implementation schedules, often within the framework of a broader program. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS) in 20 states in 2015, bringing the total fleet to more than 48,500 operating utility-scale wind turbines in 40 states and Puerto Rico.

The report also finds that wind energy continues to be sold at attractive prices through power purchase agreements, making this renewable energy source fully costCost: The consumption of resources such as labour time, capital, materials, fuels, etc. as the consequence of an action. In economics, all resources are valued at their opportunity cost, which is the value of the most valuable alternative use of the resources. Costs are defi ned in a variety of ...-competitive with traditional power sources in many parts of the United States. In fact, wind generated a total of more than 190 million megawatt hours of electricity in 2015—enough to power over 19 million average U.S. homes and saving the equivalent of more than 130 million metric tons of carbon dioxideCarbon dioxide (CO2) is emitted in several ways. Naturally through the carbon cycle and through human activities like the burning of fossil fuels. These human activities have increased CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere since the beginning of the industrial revolution and these high ... in 2015.

Newer, larger, and more robust wind turbines are enabling significantly greater wind projectProject is an intervention designed to achieve specific objectives within specified resources and implementation schedules, often within the framework of a broader program. (Glossary Monitoring and Evaluation Terms; MERG Monitoring & Evaluation Reference Group and UNAIDS) productivity among new wind projects across the country. The report also illustrates how the U.S. wind industry has positively impacted the American workforce by currently supporting 88,000 jobs related to development, siting, manufacturing, transportation, and other industries—an increase of 15,000 jobs in 2015.

Distributed Wind Market Report

Compared with traditional, centralized power plants, distributed wind energy installations supply power directly to homes, farms, businesses, and communities. In total, U.S. wind turbines in distributed applications reached a cumulative installed capacity of more than 934 megawatts—enough to power more than 142,000 average American homes—according to the 2015 Distributed Wind Market Report, also released today by the Energy Department and its Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. This capacity comes from roughly 75,000 turbines installed across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Turbines used in these applications can range in size from a few hundred watts to several megawatts, and can help power remote, off-gridA grid is a network of transmission lines, usually to distribute electric power . homes and farms, as well as local schools and manufacturing facilities.

In 2015, U.S. manufacturers dominated domestic sales of small wind turbines (up through 100 kilowatts) and doubled exports to 21.5 megawatts. Between 2012 and 2015, U.S.-based small wind turbineSmall-scale wind turbines can be useful for some applications, but as they are often DIY projects efficiency isn't very high. manufacturers accounted for more than $310 million in small wind turbineA wind turbine is a rotary engine that extracts energy from the flow of wind. The simplest turbines have one moving part, a rotor assembly, which is a shaft with blades attached. Wind energy acts on the blades, or the blades react to wind, so that they rotate and impart energy to the rotor. ... export sales.

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, American wind energy more than doubled from about 95 million megawatt hours generated in 2010 to more than 190 million megawatt hours in 2015. HydropowerHydro power is electrical energy produced through the power of moving water. Power obtained from the (typically gravitational) movement of water. has historically been the largest renewable electricity source, but capacity in wind, solar, and other non-hydro renewable sources has grown so much in recent years that non-hydro renewable electricity generationElectricity generation includes all technologies that turn some form of energy into useful electric energy. Electricity is a form of energy that has magnetic, radiant and chemical effects. Electric current is created by a flow of electrons. exceeded hydropower generation for the second straight year in 2015. Lower-than-normal levels of rainRain is liquid water in the form of droplets that have condensed from atmospheric water vapor and then precipitated—that is, become heavy enough to fall under gravity. Rain is a major component of the water cycle and is responsible for depositing most of the fresh water on the Earth. It ... and snow have also contributed to lower hydropower generation in recent years.

For more information on these two new reports—including infographics and blogs—visit the 2015 Wind Market Reports page. On September 21, please join us for the Wind Technologies Market Report webinar, and, on September 28, please join us for the Distributed Wind Market Report webinar. Learn even more about how wind turbines capture energy in this Energy 101 video.

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