Wind energy is one of the cleanest renewable energy sources, but the U.S. is lagging in this sector. With the evolution of the technology and many other factors, it is the ideal time for the country to expand its wind power.
FREMONT, CA: On the water of Block Island, Rhode Island, the Department of Energy has installed five giant wind turbines that generate 30 MW of electricity to power a small community of thousand residents. It is the only offshore wind farm in the U.S. However, the wind sector in the U.S. is about to transform. The offshore wind has the potential to generate more than 2,000 GW of energy per year, which is two times the country’s energy use, according to the Department of Energy. If one percent of the potential of the projected energy is captured, it will power 6.5 million homes within the next decade.
Today, several states are eager to join the renewable energy to generate clean energy, create tens of thousands of jobs, spur economic growth in dozens of coastal communities, and revitalize distressed port cities. The senior director at the American Wind Energy Association in Washington, D.C., Laura Morton, says, “The growth of wind energy is imminent.” According to a study by New York, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and the Clean Energy States Alliance, developing 8,000 MW of offshore wind could create 36,000 full-time U.S. jobs.
Presently, the market for wind sector is ideal for the U.S. as the costs have reduced, technology has evolved, states have set ambitious renewable energy goals, and the federal government has leased 15 commercial ocean sites for $472 million. As the climate keeps changing, the citizens also support the reduction of fossil fuel use. The advancement in technology is another economic driver for the U.S. as it leads to more efficient turbines that capture more wind. The Paris-based General Electric introduced the Haliade-X12 MW, which is approximately 850 feet tall, with three rotors spanning more than 720 feet. A single turbine can power up to 16,000 homes.
Northeast states are the most potent for wind energy. According to ISO England, New England has four times more wind proposals as compared to natural gas-fired power plants. According to a different report by DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, New England could reach 144 GW of offshore wind capacity by 2027. By 2022, Maine is expected to install a relatively small, 12 MW demonstration project named Aqua Ventus, scheduled to power approximately 9,000 homes. The duo of turbines that generate 6 MW power each are designed by the Advanced Structures and Composites Center at the University of Maine.
The floating models are attached to cables anchored to the seabed, unlike traditional offshore wind turbines that are fixed to pedestals moored on the ocean floor at depths up to about 200 feet. New York State has mandated 9,000 MW of offshore wind by 2035. The state tagged Orsted’s and Eversource’s Sunrise Wind project to install an 880 MW facility. They also tagged Norway’s Equinor to build Empire Wind, which is an 816 MW project. The Ocean Wind project is another project developed by Orsted 15 miles off the New Jersey coast from Atlantic City. Although the prospects are tremendous for wind energy in the U.S., it needs to churn out tangible volume year after year.
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