- The U.S. can up the 4.5% of its electricity it presently gets from wind energy to 20% by 2030 and 35% by midcentury, according to the Department of Energy's (DOE) new "Wind Vision" report.
- The report also found that while increasing wind capacity would increase electricity prices 1% through 2030, the continuing increase through 2050 would result in 2% lower electricity prices nationally. Key to this is that, with growth, economies of scale would drive the installed cost of wind down.
- New wind technology would make wind development in lower-wind-speed areas economically feasible. The increase in wind’s role in electricity generation would reduce demand for natural gas in the power sector, leading to lower prices and an overall $280 billion savings.
Obstacles to wind's growth include flat electricity demand and low natural gas prices.
Wind’s growth from today’s 65 GW to 35% of demand in 2050 is expected to generate, the report found, 600,000 wind industry jobs. It would transfer wealth now going to coal, natural gas, and nuclear plant owners to farmers, ranchers, and taxpayers through $1 billion in annual land lease payments, $440 million in lease payments for offshore wind, and over $3 billion in annual property tax payments.
Thje most important wind technology improvement is an increase in hub height to 140 meters, up from today’s 80-100 meter-tall turbines. The economic harvest of winds at that height would make three times much territory available as in 2008.
The report concludes wind resources will not be bottle-necked by a lack of transmission if system builders continue to annually add, with an expenditure of less than 2% of total electric sector costs, the equivalent of 870 miles of single-circuit, 345-kilovolt, 900-MW carrying capacity line, as they have since 1991.