- Wind energy is the second biggest source of electricity generation in the Tornado Alley states of Kansas (20%), South Dakota (26%), and Iowa (27%). Replacing coal in those states, where wind turbine capacity factors average 40%, with wind and combined cycle natural gas plants and keeping the current nuclear generation in place would likely meet the proposed EPA emissions regulations.
- In 2013, wind generation, led by the output in Tornado Alley, made up 4% of U.S. electricity production, fifth in the country behind coal (39%), natural gas (27%), nuclear (19%), and hydropower (7%), and ahead of biomass (1.5%), geothermal (0.4%), and solar (0.2%) - and wind is expected to move ahead of hydropower before 2030.
- The Elk River Wind Farm, built in Kansas in 2005 for $200 million by APEX Energy, has a capacity factor of 42%, the highest continuous capacity factor of any U.S. wind farm.
While conservative politics often block policies that support renewables, over 80% of U.S. wind capacity is in red Congressional districts, many in Tornado Alley states, and wind royalties mostly help typically conservative-leaning farmers and ranchers. Many utilities in Tornado Alley states are moving to wind power because of the high capacity factor there, which could get wind to 15% or more of U.S. electricity production.
Because Tornado Alley states offer development sites on already developed farm lands where there are relatively few avian migratory routes, permitting and bird death issues would be minimized. Unlike solar installations, the extreme wind of Tornado Alley would be no obstacle for wind turbines engineered to tolerate it.