Yesterday the White House and the U.S. Department of Energy released Wind Vision: A New Era of Wind Power in the United States, a definitive report showing that wind energy can become one of America’s largest sources of electricity, while saving consumers money. The report updates and builds upon the 2008 report “20% Wind Energy by 2030”, outlining successes of the wind energy industry since the initial report and setting forth aggressive targets for the continued growth of the industry.
The report also details the significant economic and environmental benefits that wind energy is already providing. Right now 4.5 percent of our electricity comes from wind, supporting more than 50,000 jobs in the United States, and more than 500 manufacturing supply chain facilities operating in 43 states. In 2013 alone, US wind farms reduced carbon pollution by 115 million metric tons.
Wind power is poised to unleash even larger economic and environmental benefits. Under the Wind Vision scenario the wind industry would need to grow from 61 gigawatts (GW) installed today to 113 GW by 2020, and 404 GW by 2050. In reaching the goal of 20 percent by 2030, wind energy will create an additional 230,000 jobs, pay $650 million in lease payments to landowners, and nearly $1.8 billion in tax revenues to communities hosting wind farms.
Given the aggressive targets and potential benefits the report outlines the following road map for achieving the Wind Vision:
- Improved forecasting and optimized wind farm layouts;
- Improved, next-generation technology;
- A robust US manufacturing base and expanded supply chain; and
- Sufficient transmission lines to deliver low-cost wind energy to population centers.
As the report notes, adding high capacity transmission infrastructure is critical to achieving this vision. America is blessed with vast renewable resources, but much of it is off limits because of a severe lack of transmission capacity. Ultimately, this is about America’s competitiveness – ensuring that residents, businesses and manufacturers in every region of the country have access to safe, secure, affordable wind energy. Clean Line is proud to be on the forefront of this effort as we work to develop transmission projects that will carry clean electricity from the Great Plains to population centers in the eastern and western United States.
While the targets set forth in the Wind Vision report are aggressive-providing one-third of U.S. electricity by 2050 and supporting more than 600,000 jobs, we are confident that the US wind industry is poised to meet, and even exceed, these numbers.