Posted by: Peter Black | July 22, 2008

Less than 2% of Total US Wind Energy has been Developed

a wind farm on the great plains

What a week. When a billionaire Texas oil man/underwriter for the now defunct Swiftboat Veterans for Truth comes up with a multi million dollar media campaign to convert the great plains into the “Saudi Arabia of Wind”, things seem a little wacky.

Furthermore, our very own Sheryl Canter reported yesterday that Texas is going to put 5 Billion taxpayer dollars towards developing their wind power capacity and transmission.

So it was a major victory for the proponents of wind energy who contend that wind can provide at least 20% of the nation’s power supply.

Since the wind doesn’t blow constantly, it is known as a non-steady state source of energy. In that way it is similar to solar power but markedly different from Enhanced Geothermal

Given all that, what does our current wind energy picture look like in the US?

Just to clarify, a megawatt can power roughly
250 typical American homes

The following series of maps is intended to provide some insight into these questions from a geographical perspective:
- how much wind power have we developed?
- what’s currently under construction?
- how much is left to be developed? (currently developed/developing versus total potentially developable wind resources)

The first map is interactive and shows the amount of developed wind energy by state:

wind_existing.jpg

The second map is also interactive and shows the amount of wind energy currently under construction:

under_construction1.jpg

The third map (non interactive) then compares the total amount of wind power that has been developed or is in the process thereof with the amount of potential wind energy yet to be exploited. The larger the circle, the more total energy per state. Thus, the great plains states have large circles:

wind_potential_developed_piechart_small3.jpg

When you add up the data nationally, the pie chart shows that we’ve only developed about 2% of the available wind resource:

wind_power_potential_chart2.jpg

All of the data comes from the American Wind Energy Association who today announced that the US is the #1 wind energy produce r in the world

And yet we still have so far to go.

Lots of questions can be asked of this information, and I’d like to ask you to help us answer some of them. For instance, why have some states done better than others in terms of developing this resource? Feel free to comment and please subscribe to this blog. STAY TUNED! More on this to come!!!

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Responses

  1. While traveling through the Washington State recently we came upon a gigantic windmill farm. It was seriously heartening to see this area of vast vacant land dominated by giant windmills.
    Oh how much more we could do!


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