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Predictions for Wind Energy August 6, 2008

Posted by OldGuy in Alternatives, Wind Power.
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A new report from the Department of Energy suggests that Wind Energy has the potential for being a major factor in meeting our nation’s energy needs.

The report is called “20 Percent Wind Energy by 2030” and suggests that use of this clean and readily available source of energy.  Wind energy, they say, could also avoid 7.6 cumulative gigatons of CO2 by 2030; it could save 825 million metric tons in 2030 – and every year thereafter.

Today, the US produces 16.8 gigawatts (GW) with wind energy.  Not shabby, but nowhere near the estimated 304 GW the DOE thinks we will be generating by 2030.

The U.S. wind energy industry invested approximately $9 billion in new generating capacity in 2007.  This has helped the industry grow with a 30 percent annual growth rate over the last 5 years.

But for the US to reach this 20% goal, several things must happen.  The US transmission infrastructure will need to be upgraded, to limit transmission losses from wind-prone areas to areas where the energy is needed.

And there will need to be more wind farms.  The number of generating facilities must increase from approximately 2000 in 2006 to almost 7000 in 2017.  OF course, that means process improvements are needed to streamline siting and permitting for new transmission lines.

The goal will also require improvements in reliability and operability of wind systems.

This report presents an in-depth analysis of the potential for wind in the United States.  It identifies opportunities to bring the US to produce 20 percent of the nation’s electricity mix by 2030.

To write the report the DOE drew on the expertise of the American Wind Energy Association and Black and Veatch engineering consultants, and the report reflects input from more than 50 energy organizations and corporations.

The pdf of the report is available from the DOE website.

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