United States Triples Wind Power Capacity in Just 10 Years

The modern world requires electricity to power devices from home appliances to 3D printers. With the increasing threat of climate change, fossil fuels are becoming problematic because they emit heat and carbon when burned. This is why the United States is looking to alternative forms of energy production such as solar and wind power. When the energy industry began using wind power to create electricity, costs were high. However, as more wind turbines are being built, the costs are lowering dramatically making wind power an affordable alternative to fossil fuels.

How Wind Turbines Create Power

The science behind wind power is fairly simple. Large wind turbines, a modern take on the windmill, use the power of the wind to create energy. The energy is stored in large-scale batteries until it is needed for distribution. Since energy is stored, power is available whether the wind is currently blowing or not. Many U.S. electric companies are combining wind power with a variety of other power sources including fossil fuels, hydropower, and solar power with a goal of affordable power generation with lower carbon emissions.

Rapid Rise in Power Capacity

The United States has tripled wind power capacity within 10 years. These figures from the IRENA Renewable Capacity Statistics 2018demonstrate the increase in capacity:

  • 2008 – 24,651 MW (megawatts)
  • 2009 – 32,296 MW
  • 2010 – 39,135 MW
  • 2011 – 45,676 MW
  • 2012 – 59,075 MW
  • 2013 – 59,973 MW
  • 2014 – 64,232 MW
  • 2015 – 72,573 MW
  • 2016 – 81,287 MW
  • 2017 – 87,544 MW

With this rapid rise in wind power capacity in just 10 years, it is easy to see how much more power the U.S. can generate from wind power in the next 20 to 30 years if this rate continues.

Advantages of Wind Power

Wind power has many advantages as a source for energy. The wind will never run out, making it a renewable and sustainable resource. It is environmentally friendly because wind turbines don’t pollute the air when generating power. In addition, wind energy is free to use for anyone who builds a turbine. That makes it a great source for cheap energy. It can also generate power in hard-to-reach areas such as remote island or rural communities.

Learn more about the pros and cons of wind power here.

Melissa Thompson
Melissa Thompson writes about a wide range of topics, revealing interesting things we didn't know before. She is a freelance USA Today producer, and a Technorati contributor.