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OWOE - Wind Power - Where is wind energy produced?
  Figure 1 - Map of US Wind Resource Estimates at 80m Height (NREL)
Figure 1 - Map of US Wind Resource Estimates at 80m Height (NREL)
Figure 2 - Map of Current Installed Wind Capacity (NREL)
Where is wind energy produced?
Topic updated: 2015-09-01

Utility-scale wind farms are generally located in areas with average annual wind speeds of at least 10 miles per hour. Ideal locations are characterized by near constant, non-turbulent wind throughout the year, with few sudden powerful bursts of wind. The NREL has plotted wind potential based on wind speed for the entire United States, both onshore and offshore. Figure 1 illustrates wind potential at 80m height. In the lower 48 states the plot shows significant wind potential along both east and west coasts as well as the Great Lakes, plus a wide swath across the Great Plains. It's interesting to note that using the 10 mph limit, which converts to approximatley 4.5 m/s, a large majority of the US land mass and near offshore has the potential for supporting wind turbines.

As of July 2015 the top three wind producing states were: 1) Texas with 15.6 GW, 2) California with 6.0 GW, and 3) Iowa with 5.7 GW. (See Figure 2) In terms of wind power as a percentage of total power produced, Iowa with 28%, South Dakota with 25% and Kansas with 22% were the leaders. Texas and California, although the biggest producers on a MW basis, only produced 9% and 7%, respectively, of their total power needs from wind.

A new report published by the US Department of Energy titled "Enabling Wind Power Nationwide" has concluded that the deployment of taller wind turbines (already prevalent in Germany with average hub heights at 116 m) will expand U.S. land area available for wind deployment by 54%. Further innovation and increasing heights to 140 m will increase that further to 67%.At that point wind power can be a significant source of electricity generation in all 50 states.

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