Why Corporations are Buying into US Wind Power

Corporations are making major investments in wind power.

In February, North Carolina commissioned its first commercial-scale wind farm. The Amazon Wind Farm U.S. East is made up of 104 wind turbines that can produce enough energy for 61,000 homes annually. The site is using this power to run its data centers and will help the company move closer toward its goal of achieving 50 percent renewable energy use by 2018.  

This is just one example of a broader shift to wind power and clean, affordable energy across corporate America in recent years — including a host of leading companies that you’ve probably heard of before:

  • General Motors — Recently announced a major wind purchase that will completely power a 3 million-square-foot facility in Arlington, Texas, that builds 1,100 SUVs a day. In addition, wind power will also supply electricity for several offices and warehouses.
  • Google — Signed a 407-MW wind energy deal to power a data center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, that will help the company advance its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy this year. Google is the biggest corporate purchaser of clean energy in the world.
  • Proctor & Gamble — Struck a partnership with EDF Renewable Energy to buy 80 percent of the electricity generated from the Tyler Bluff Wind Project, a 123-MW wind farm near Dallas, Texas, that is projected to generate 370,000 MWh of electricity annually.
  • IKEA — Purchased a 165-MW wind farm in Cameron, Texas — one of the largest investments in clean energy by the company to date.

Buying into Wind

According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Jose Zayas, wind power is not just good for the environment — it’s good for the bottom line. The Wind Energy Technologies Office director explains that with the costs of land-based wind dropping by more than 40 percent in recent years, wind is rapidly emerging as a key cost-effective domestic energy source.    

“With sustained low prices and exceptional capacity growth, choosing to rely on wind energy makes good business sense. Wind is a free and inexhaustible fuel providing price certainty to businesses for decades.” — Jose Zayas

Wind Power in the United States

Thanks in part to these trends, wind power recently became the single largest source of renewable generation capacity in the U.S., with utility-scale wind now deployed in 41 states and distributed wind in all 50. Wind energy is also moving offshore; the first U.S. plant began operations in December 2016.

In addition to commitments from the private sector, DOE-backed research has played a major role in cutting technology costs, such as leading breakthroughs in additive manufacturing aimed at reducing the cost and time necessary to produce wind turbine blades.

It’s clearly an exciting time for the wind power industry, as U.S. companies continue to demonstrate that wind works — benefiting the U.S. economy and environment.

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Daron Christopher is a writer for the U.S. Department of Energy's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

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