Washington, D.C., USA [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] A new analysis by the U.S. Department of Energy finds that wind can be major contributor to the country’s energy mix, supplying up to 20% of electricity by 2030. Included in the report, titled “20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply,” is an examination of America’s technological and manufacturing capabilities, the future costs of energy sources, U.S. wind energy resources and the environmental and economic impacts of wind development.
Two scenarios are considered, one for reaching 20% wind energy by 2030 and one with no new U.S. wind capacity. Under the 20% wind scenario, installations of new wind power capacity would increase to more than 16,000 megawatts (MW) per year by 2018, and continue at that rate through 2030. Such investment would support roughly 500,000 jobs in the U.S., with an average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the wind industry, the report adds.
At 20% of electric power generation, significant growth in the manufacturing supply chain would create jobs and remedy the current shortage in parts for wind turbines.
“We must look at meeting future electric demands in a cost-effective way. The 20% wind scenario would only cost 2 percent more than the cost of the baseline scenario without wind. At US $0.50 per month for the average ratepayer, that is a small price to pay for the climate, water, natural gas, and energy security benefits it would buy — and it does not even count the stability provided to consumers by eliminating fuel price risk,” said Suedeen Kelly, FERC Commissioner.
Andy Karsner, the DOE’s Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, said the report is a “thorough look at America’s wind resource, its industrial capabilities and future energy prices,” and that it “confirms the viability and commercial maturity of wind as a major contributor to America’s energy needs.”
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