Over the past several years wind energy has been the largest source of new renewable power in the United States. Much of that growth has been facilitated by technological advancements in wind turbine design. In particular, scaling of the standard wind turbine design - increasing the average turbine nameplate capacity, hub height, and rotor diameter - has allowed significant increases in wind power at lower cost per kWh. For example, the average nameplate capacity of newly installed turbines in 2013 was 1.87 megawatts (MW), up 162% since 1999. The average hub height of turbines installed in 2013 was 80 meters, up 45% from 1999 with associated increase in rotor diameter. These larger turbines generate more electricity per unit by both capturing larger wind flow and accessing stronger, more consistent winds at higher altitudes. As a result, a modern wind turbine can do the job of several older versions, and wind turbines can be cost-effectively deployed in regions with lower average wind velocities.
However, besides just bigger, there are other significant technological advancements that have emerged over the past few years. These include offshore wind turbines, both fixed to the seafloor and floating, alternative rotor configurations, alternative blade designs, component efficiency, smart controls,material selection, and construction and manufacturing process. Each advancement either improves the electrical output per dollar invested or expands the options as to where a wind turbine can be located.