How big is the U.S. wind energy market?
Although wind is a vast energy resource, wind sourced energy accounted for less than 5% of the country’s power needs last year. However, this statistic masks the overall growth experienced by the wind industry. Since 2004, wind energy in the U.S. has grown at an average annual rate of more than 25%. Our country now has an installed wind capacity of nearly 75,000 megawatts, with last year’s extension of the Production Tax Credit helping to spur additional growth. There are more than 15,000 megawatts of wind projects being constructed or in advanced development so far this year. The U.S. generated more wind energy last year than any other country in the world.
What is driving the growth of wind?
As is also the case with solar energy, technology keeps advancing and driving down the cost of wind energy. The price to produce wind-sourced power has dropped by more than 60% in the last six years, and the trend of lower prices and more advanced wind turbines will accelerate. The wind industry estimates that wind generation will quadruple through 2030 and supply up to 20% of the country’s power needs, but those figures maybe too conservative. Since 2000, the International Energy Agency has raised its long-term wind forecast five times. There is a nearly 20% drop in costs every time global wind doubles. Even in today’s lower-priced fossil fuel environment, the advances in wind and solar have allowed renewables to effectively compete with traditional sources of energy.
What is the future of wind energy?
A recent analysis by Bloomberg estimates that by 2040, a total of $12.2 trillion will have to be invested in power plants to satisfy rising global power demand. Of that figure, renewables will make up two-thirds, with a material portion going to wind. Wind and solar will be critical pieces of the power generation mix as countries address issues such as the need for zero emissions energy. Moreover, global issues such as the “Carbon Bubble” will force the world to shift to more renewable, low-carbon alternatives, and wind will help lead the way.
Source: American Way Magazine June 2016