Tuesday, May 13, 2008

DOE Report: 20 Percent Wind Energy By 2030

May 12: The U.S Department of Energy (DOE) released a first-of-its kind report that examines the technical feasibility of harnessing wind power to provide up to 20 percent of the nation’s total electricity needs by 2030. Entitled, 20 Percent Wind Energy by 2030, the report identifies requirements to achieve this goal including reducing the cost of wind technologies, citing new transmission infrastructure, and enhancing domestic manufacturing capability. Most notably, the report identifies opportunities for 7.6 cumulative gigatons of CO2 to be avoided by 2030, saving 825 million metric tons in 2030 and every year thereafter if wind energy achieves 20 percent of the nation’s electricity mix.

DOE Assistant Secretary of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy for the U.S. Department of Energy Andy Karsner said, “DOE’s wind report is a thorough look at America’s wind resource, its industrial capabilities, and future energy prices, and confirms the viability and commercial maturity of wind as a major contributor to America’s energy needs, now and in the future. To dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance our energy security, clean power generation at the gigawatt-scale will be necessary, and will require us to take a comprehensive approach to scaling renewable wind power, streamlining siting and permitting processes, and expanding the domestic wind manufacturing base.”

Prepared by DOE and a broad cross section of stakeholders across industry, government, and three of DOE’s national laboratories, the report presents an in-depth analysis of the potential for wind in the U.S. and outlines a potential scenario to boost wind electric generation from its current production of 16.8 gigawatts (GW) to 304 GW by 2030. For its technical report, DOE also drew on the expertise of the American Wind Energy Association and Black and Veatch engineering consultants and the report reflects input from more than fifty energy organizations and corporations.

With the U.S. leading the world in new wind installations and having the potential to be the world leader in total wind capacity by 2010, DOE’s report comes at an important time in wind development. Last year, U.S. cumulative wind energy capacity reached 16,818 megawatts (MW) -- with more than 5,000 MW of wind installed in 2007. Wind contributed to more than 30 percent of the new U.S. generation capacity in 2007, making it the second largest source of new power generation in the nation -- surpassed only by natural gas. The U.S. wind energy industry invested approximately $9 billion in new generating capacity in 2007, and has experienced a 30 percent annual growth rate in the last 5 years.

Access a DOE release (
click here). Access the complete 248-page report (click here). Access links to additional wind energy documents and information from DOE (click here). [*Energy]