Wind power generation supplied a bulk of new US power capacity in 2020 as the Biden administration pushes for more offshore wind power.
Wind power generation accounted for a large portion of new US power in 2020, according to reports released by the US Department of Energy. Wind power contributed 42% of new US-generated capacity thanks to a record amount of wind-generating capacity, where a record high of nearly 17,000 megawatts of power was installed on land.
Other renewables such as solar power accounted for about 38% of new power-generating capacity, while natural gas supplied 20%.
Wind energy also supplied more than 8% of the country’s electricity, reaching up to 57% for Iowa and more than 30% for states like Kansas, Oklahoma, and North and South Dakota. The country also saw a $25 billion investment in renewable energy, which will translate to 16.8 gigawatts of capacity.
Though wind power generation only accounted for 11% of total utility-scale generating capacity last year, meaning energy that can be fed into a power grid, its growth in generating capacity and installation has proved to be encouraging.
“These reports contain such terrific news: the U.S. installed a record-breaking amount of land-based wind energy last year,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm said in a statement. “They underscore both the progress made and the capacity for much more affordable wind power to come.”
The performance of wind power generation and operations in the US is also improving. Wind turbines are built with longer and larger blades, and with taller towers, which help generate even more power as the blades spin. In 2010, wind turbines in the US all had rotors at or below 115 meters in diameter. Yet in 2020, 91% of new wind turbines had rotors of this size or larger, and is likely to keep increasing. As a result, wind power will become more affordable as more energy is generated at lower costs.
Following US President Joe Biden’s announcement of his Clean Energy Plan earlier this year, in which he pledged to reach 100% clean electricity by 2035, as well as cut emissions by 50% by 2030, wind power generation has a lot of room to grow in becoming the main source of electricity in the country.
The Biden administration has set a goal to deploy 30 gigawatts of offshore wind power by 2030. Similarly, eight East Coast states have set down offshore wind targets that, combined, amount to 40,000 megawatts by 2040. A 122 wind turbine project in federal waters off the coast of Montauk, New York, is also currently under proposal.
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