Wind power is currently the largest source of renewable energy in the United States. Defying estimates that it would take until 2020 to surpass hydro power, wind capacity has swelled in recent years to 4.4% of all generated electrical energy in 2014, as measured by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Texas added the most wind capacity (42% of total wind additions), followed by Oklahoma, Kansas, Iowa, and North Dakota.
Capacity additions planned for 2016 indicate that wind will continue to grow its share of the energy mix, primarily in states with the strongest wind resources like Texas.
According to a study released by the University of Delaware, the cost of building wind farms off the U.S. coast may decline as much as 55% by 2030. This cost reduction would put the clean power rates on par with market prices. Costs are expected to fall as developers gain experience, install transmission lines, upgrade infrastructure, and use more efficient components.
Falling costs are encouraging many nations to use wind power to meet carbon emission reduction targets like those set during the Paris Climate Talks.
Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is preparing for elections by creating agencies for the promotion of clean energy in a break from the policies of former PM Abbott, who he ousted in September. Unlike, Abbott – who called wind farms “ugly and noisy” and scaled back the nation’s 2020 renewable energy target – Turnbull has proven more receptive to renewables.
In the United Kingdom’s recent budget announcement, the Treasury allocated 730 million pounds by 2021 for as much as 4 GW of new offshore wind farms and other renewable energy technologies. Though this appears to be a significant amount, the government’s reigning in of renewables subsidies and weakness in encouraging private investment are putting a damper on the countries once promising wind power generation sector.
Similar but far more poisonous government opposition can also be seen in Poland from the recently elected Law and Justice Party. In contrast, Chinese firm Huaneng Renewables Corp., saw profits soar on record wind capacity additions and Uruguay has managed world-record amounts of wind capacity installations.