Last week was the very first American Wind Week and to celebrate, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) launched a new tool to map out every utility-scale wind project and wind-related manufacturing facility in the United States.
Wind is affordable and reliable – and is currently America’s largest source of renewable energy. In 2016, it provided over 5 percent of all energy used in the country. This is largely because the past 30 years have been a period of rapid growth for the industry, which you can see for yourself using the tool’s time-lapse feature. It also helps that just one standard 2-megawatt (MW) turbine in the US produces enough energy to power 550 homes.
California took the lead, establishing the earliest modern wind projects in the early 1980s. Since then, several other states have upped their game, including Iowa, Kansas, Texas, and South Dakota, who get as much as 20 percent of their energy from wind. Right now, there are over 52,000 turbines in the USA, many of which are concentrated in so-called red states – something that might surprise you given the Republican party's relationship with the fossil fuel industry.
As well as getting big bonus points as far as the environment is concerned, wind energy is a fantastic asset to the economy. According to the AWEA, it supports more than 100,000 jobs across 50 states and the Bureau of Labour puts wind turbine service technicians at the top of its fastest growing occupations list.
The inaugural American Wind Week is to help highlight that the US is a leading force in wind power, both at home and around the world. With two-thirds of Americans preferring clean energy to fossil fuels and California's plan to go renewable by 2045, it looks like the trends towards green energy and renewables is going to continue.