FACT SHEET: Wind Vision Report Highlights Long Term Benefits of Investing in America's Wind Energy Industry
As a key part of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, the wind power industry supports more than 50,000 American jobs and supplies enough energy to power 16 million homes. Building on this momentum, today the Department of Energy released Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States, a highly anticipated analysis of America’s wind energy industry – charting the future of wind power through 2050 and underscoring the economic and environmental benefits that steady growth will make possible.
Today, the United States stands as a global leader in wind energy, ranking first in the world in wind power generation, providing affordable and renewable electricity to American families and businesses nationwide. With utility-scale wind plants installed in 39 states, growth in America’s wind energy industry has boosted the economy, spurring more than $400 million in exports in 2013 and supporting jobs related to development, siting, manufacturing, transportation and other industries. The report shows that with continuing technological advancements, cost reductions, and siting and transmission development, the nation can deploy wind power to economically provide 35% of our nation’s electricity and supply renewable power in all 50 states by 2050.
Since President Obama took office, the electricity we get from wind has increased by three fold. In fact, between 2009 and 2013, wind represented approximately 30% of new electricity generation in the United States. With economically competitive prices in many areas, the U.S. wind energy market currently remains strong as more utilities select wind as a cost-saving option, paving the way to a low-carbon future that protects our air and water and addresses climate change.
Growing the Clean Energy Economy
According to the report, the wind energy industry could support more than 600,000 jobs by 2050, including engineers, construction workers, truck drivers, factory workers, utility operators, maintenance technicians, electricians and other supporting services.
The United States could install up to 11 GW per year in new capacity through 2050, an ambitious but feasible deployment scenario comparable to the wind capacity installed in 2012.
- This growth could lead to America operating and maintaining a fleet of more than 400 GW nationwide through 2050, enough to power more than 100 million homes.
- The report also indicates that the United States could install a total of 86 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2050, creating clean energy jobs in coastal communities.
U.S. manufacturing supplies the majority of the blades and towers installed at U.S. wind farms.
- With more than 500 U.S. manufacturing companies across 43 states, continued investment in America’s wind energy manufacturing sector could boost America’s competitiveness, help launch new businesses across the country, and secure the future of thousands of U.S. manufacturing jobs.
- Total investment would reach $70 billion per year by 2050 under this growth path.
Today, average wind energy costs nationally are approaching cost-competitive levels. Backed by stable policies including the production tax credit and the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, costs will continue to drop as the industry scales up and innovates.
- Wind is anticipated to provide nearly $280 billion consumer savings by 2050.
- Wind generation agreements typically provide 20-year fixed pricing, helping reduce rate shocks caused by volatility in natural gas and coal fuel prices.
Unleashing Climate and Public Health Benefits
Researchers estimate that in 2013, wind energy in the United States reduced direct power-sector carbon dioxide emissions by 115 million metric tons, equivalent to eliminating the emissions of 20 million cars during the year. They also estimate that wind power generation in 2013 reduced power-sector water consumption by 36.5 billion gallons, or about 116 gallons per person in the United States.
- Wind power could help America combat climate change by avoiding more than 12.3 billion metric tons of carbon pollution cumulatively by 2050, equivalent to avoiding one-third of global annual carbon emissions.
- Wind energy could save approximately 260 billion gallons of water by 2050, by side-stepping the water-intensive processes of conventional energy production. At deployment levels examined in the report, the nation’s electric power sector could consume 23% less water.
- This growth in wind power could lead to approximately $108 billion in savings in healthcare costs and economic damages. This estimated saving is made possible through cumulative reductions in air pollutants, including sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides and fine particulates that could otherwise cause nearly 22,000 premature deaths from respiratory ailments and other diseases by 2050.
Widely deploying wind turbines, both on land and offshore, for U.S. electricity generation provides a domestic, sustainable and essentially zero-carbon, zero-pollution and zero-water use electricity resource.
Wind energy continues to be one of America’s best choices for low-cost, zero-pollution renewable energy, and in an increasing number of markets, may be the cheapest source of new energy available. Wind power is a key component of the Obama Administration’s all-of-the-above approach to American energy – a strategy that helps reduce climate-changing carbon emissions, enhances our energy security and supports good-paying American jobs.