Even if you don’t know the first thing about wind energy, you’ve likely heard of the fact that it’s a renewable source of power that generates zero carbon emissions.
Wind energy is one of the cleanest and most renewable resources available, with enough potential to power the entire world three times over.
Wind energy accounts for more than 5% of the electricity used by Americans today!
Even with this tremendous growth, most people only know the basics about wind energy, so we’ve compiled facts about wind energy that you may not know yet.
Get your pen and paper ready because we’re diving deep into eight facts about wind energy that will blow your mind.
What is Wind Energy?
Wind energy is the renewable energy generated by the force of the wind.
It’s a clean, green source of electricity that you can use to power our homes and businesses.
Wind turbines can be used to generate electricity for our homes and businesses.
Wind farms are an extensive collection of wind turbines that generate electricity for a grid.
Offshore wind farms are built in bodies of lakes or oceans, and the blades are taller than traditional land-based wind turbines.
In the U.S., offshore wind farms have been constructed off Rhode Island and Massachusetts coasts.
Offshore wind farm construction is booming in Europe due to its proximity to high-demand countries like Germany and Denmark.
By 2020, more than 10 gigawatts (G.W.) could be installed offshore across Europe – enough capacity to power up to 12 million households per year with clean energy from offshore wind alone!
Benefits of Wind Energy
- Wind energy is a clean and renewable power source; it doesn’t produce emissions that can pollute the air or water and don’t contribute to climate change.
- Wind energy is a domestic energy source, and the United States has enough wind resources to generate more than enough electricity to meet our needs.
- Wind turbines can generate electricity for homes, businesses, and even entire communities.
- Wind power is one of the most efficient forms of renewable energy. A single wind turbine can generate enough electricity to power hundreds of homes.
- Wind turbines can supplement other forms of renewable energy, such as solar panels.
Facts About Wind Energy
Wind Power is an Abundant, Renewable Resource
Wind power is one of the planet’s most abundant and renewable resources, and it doesn’t emit greenhouse gasses or pollutants.
Wind turbines can generate electricity, becoming more efficient and cost-effective. In some parts of the world, wind power already provides significant electricity.
China is the leading producer of wind energy, followed by the United States, Germany, and India.
The potential for wind power is vast: it has been estimated that if we could harness all the available wind energy, we could meet 100% of the world’s electricity needs.
Wind Turbines Are Similar to Jet Engines
The fact that wind turbines are similar to jet engines is pretty interesting. Jet engines work by compressing air and igniting it with fuel, which creates a lot of thrust.
Wind turbines operate similarly, but instead of using jet fuel, they use the wind to produce power.
Here are some other facts about wind energy:
Most of the World’s Electricity Comes From Burning Fossil Fuels
One of the facts about wind energy is that Coal, natural gas, and oil are the world’s primary energy sources.
Burning these fossil fuels releases harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, causing climate change.
Wind energy is a clean, renewable resource that can help us reduce our reliance on fossil fuels and combat climate change.
Wind Power in the U.S. Doubled Between 2010 and 2016
In 2010, there was a total installed capacity of 25.8 gigawatts (G.W.) in the United States. By 2016, that number had doubled to more than 50 G.W.
In other words, enough wind turbines were built in six years to power over 32 million homes!
The U.S. has more than 54,000 utility-scale wind turbines across 41 states. Iowa is the state with the most installed capacity, with nearly 8 G.W. of operating turbines.
Texas is a close second, with more than 20 G.W. of installed capacity and more than 10,000 operating turbines.
Midwestern states like Illinois, Ohio, Michigan, and Minnesota also rank among the top five for installed capacity.
Kansas ranks number one for the percentage of wind-generated electricity at 31%. Current produces more than twice as much electricity as solar—14% versus 5%.
A single turbine can power an average American household for up to 18 months—depending on its size and how frequently it’s used—and an estimated two billion people worldwide don’t have access to electricity.
Onshore wind prices have fallen by 62% since 2009 due to increased competition from cheaper sources like natural gas and solar plus technological improvements in both generation equipment and installation costs; offshore prices have fallen by 48%.
Wind Turbines Provide Local Communities With Jobs, Capital Investment, and Tax Revenue
Wind turbines are an increasingly common sight in the United States, providing jobs, capital investment, and tax revenue for local communities and known facts about wind energy.
The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) reports that the domestic wind industry employs over 100,000 people.
The industry has seen dramatic growth recently, with employment increasing by 32 percent from 2015 to 2016 alone.
Meanwhile, most of the nation’s electricity comes from non-renewable sources like coal and natural gas.
Renewable energy is on the rise: According to a report by The Brookings Institution, renewable energy accounted for 13 percent of total U.S. electricity generation in 2017—up six percentage points since 2010.
Renewable sources provide six times more electricity than nuclear power plants nationwide—though this varies regionally, as some states produce far more wind power than others due to geography and climate conditions.
Wind Provides Power Even When It’s Not Sunny
Did you know that wind is a form of solar energy? The sun’s uneven heating of the earth’s surface creates areas of high and low pressure, which generates currents.
The wind is one of the fastest-growing sources of electricity in the world.
And it’s grown by more than 20% yearly over the past decade. More than 1 million wind turbines are now operating in 96 countries worldwide.
The United States has the most installed capacity for wind power, followed by China, Germany, and Spain.
Wind turbines can generate electricity for homes and businesses, and wind power is one of the fastest-growing sources of electricity in the United States.
A Typical Home Uses 100 Kilowatt Electricity Per Month at an Average Cost of $100
A single 2-megawatt (M.W.) turbine can produce enough electricity to power more than 1,400 homes.
In 2015, the average U.S. home used 10,399-kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year or 867 kWh per month.
The average monthly electricity bill in the United States was $111.67 in 2015.
The cost of wind energy has fallen by more than 90% since the 1980s, making it one of the most affordable forms of new generating capacity.
However, as with other renewable energy sources, the price does not include additional costs associated with intermittency and backup generation when the wind is not blowing.
Every Megawatt Installed Wind Capacity Creates More Than 50 Full-time Jobs
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that every megawatt installed wind capacity creates more than 50 full-time jobs, most of which are in manufacturing, installation, and maintenance.
The U.S. wind industry now employs over 100,000 people across all 50 states.
The American Wind Energy Association estimates that the number of jobs in the wind industry will double by 2030.
In addition to creating jobs, wind energy helps save consumers money on their electricity bills.
The United States is the world leader in the installed capacity of wind power, with over 81,000 megawatts (M.W.) of ability, and it’s one of the facts about wind energy.
Texas has the most installed wind power capacity, with over 22,000 MW, and California is second, with just over 5,000 MW of installed capacity.
Most of the world’s population lives in countries that generate electricity, and wind energy is one of the fastest-growing sources of electricity generation.