Electricity buyers – whether utilities, municipalities, universities or Fortune 500 companies – are increasingly seeking to make wind energy a major part of their energy portfolios. Wind power comprised more than 41 percent of all new U.S. electric capacity additions in 2015, representing $14.7 billion in new investment.
Eight states generated 15 percent or more of their electricity supply from wind in 2015, and 20 states generated more than 5 percent of their electricity from wind. There are over 75,000 (megawatts) MW of wind capacity operational in the U.S., as of August 2016. (You can see the U.S. wind farm locations on the U.S. Geological Survey’s interactive map.)
Wind energy is also now the second fastest-growing source of electricity in the world, with a global installed capacity of 432,883 MW in 2015. Wind produced over 190 million megawatt-hours (MWh) in the U.S. last year, enough electricity for about 17.5 million typical U.S. homes. The U.S. is the world leader in annual wind energy production, with China close behind at 185.1 million MWh and followed by third-place Germany at 84.6 MWh.
Why is wind power such a popular choice? Wind power is often the least expensive electricity option on the U.S. grid, doesn’t produce harmful emissions that pollute the air, and is a leading climate change solution.
The wind industry is also supplying well-paying jobs; 88,000 Americans are now working in the sector and this jobs opportunity is growing rapidly. Wind turbine technician is the fastest growing job in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Labor.
With low costs, great environmental benefits, and new investment and job creation in rural communities, it’s no surprise that the American public consistently supports adding more wind power.