Wind provides most generating capacity of any renewable resource in 2016

Published on May 05, 2017 by Daily Energy Insider Reports

Wind generators provided eight percent of the operating electric generating capacity in the United States in 2016, which is more than any other renewable technology, according to a report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Wind turbines have accounted for over one-third of the nearly 200 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale electricity generating capacity added since 2007.

More advanced wind turbine technology, improved access to transmission capacity, state-level renewable portfolio standards and federal production tax credits and grants have contributed to the increasing development of wind energy resources.

Over half of U.S. wind capacity is located in five states, Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, California and Kansas. In Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma wind accounts for at least 25 percent of in-state utility-scale generating capacity.

Texas alone has nearly a quarter of total U.S. wind capacity. Electricity generated by wind turbines in Texas made up 13 percent of its overall electricity output in 2016 but can reach up to 50 percent of the generation mix at particularly windy times.

As of December 2016, nine U.S. states, Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Virginia, had no operational utility-scale wind facilities.

Although wind accounts for eight percent of total U.S. electricity generating capacity in 2016, it provided five percent of total U.S. electricity generation, because wind turbines have relatively low capacity factors.

The average U.S. wind generating facility consists of about 50 turbines. The largest, the Alta Wind Energy Center in Kern County, California, has 586 turbines and a combined 1,548 megawatts (MW) of capacity across several separate projects.

The first U.S. offshore wind project, Block Island Wind Farm, began commercial operation in December 2016 off the coast of Rhode Island with a generating capacity of 29.3 MW. Two other offshore wind projects off the coasts of Ohio and Virginia are currently seeking regulatory approvals.