The US Department of Energy (DOE) has published on its website a series on infographics and a great animation showing how wind energy is rapidly gaining pace and its capacity is booming.
In 2003, there were 185 wind farms online, powering the equivalent of 1.6 million homes ; in 2008, there were 416 wind farms online powering 6.5 million homes. In 2012 there were 815 wind farms online powering 15 million US homes.
Yes, you read that right : in ten years the capacity increased ten-fold. Since President Obama took office, the capacity has been multiplied by more than two.
With over sixty gigawatts (60 GW) of capacity, the US wind energy sector employs now more than 80,000 people as 72 percent of the turbines equipment are made in the United States.
This renewable energy source already brings over 20 percent of the electricity to the states of Texas, South Dakota, Kansas and Iowa. As the DOE notes, ” Nine states now rely on wind for more than 12 percent of their total annual energy consumption. “
Last year, no less than 13 GW were installed. To Climate Progress, the United States installed a little bit more than China. This makes the US total capacity second only to China. Germany has half the US capacity (granted, it’s a much smaller country).
With more and more capacity, prices are going down. Since 2009, the price of wind power has been halved. (source)
And this doesn’t even mention offshore wind as the USA will install soon their first offshore turbine. There are no less than 33 announced offshore wind projects. The DOE believes no less than 54 GW of offshore wind power capacity could be installed in the country by 2030.
To conclude, as if it wasn’t enough, solar is also booming big time. A recent official study believes that it could account to 14% of U.S. electricity needs by 2030 and 27% by 2050.
All this makes me think that a real clean energy revolution is underway in the United States…
Photo credits : Flickr, RStacker