Sunday, March 15, 2015

Energy Department Releases New Wind Report, Examines Future of Industry - Present Day to 2050, Report Quantifies the Economic and Social Benefits of Robust Wind Energy Growth

In support of the President’s all-of-the-above energy strategy to diversify our nation’s power supplies, the Energy Department on March 15, 2015 released a new report looking at the future of wind power through 2050 and the economic benefits that come with a robust wind industry. The report, Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States, confirms that with technological advancements driving projected cost reductions, in combination with continued siting and transmission development, wind power can be economically deployed to provide renewable power in all 50 states.

The report highlights the importance of wind in the nation’s energy portfolio and how critical it is to advance wind’s position in the energy marketplace to maintain the nation’s existing wind manufacturing infrastructure and economic benefits. The report includes a roadmap that defines actions needed to realize the substantial economic and social benefits of a robust wind energy future. Through continued cost reductions and further investments in wind energy systems, wind power is projected to be directly competitive with conventional energy technologies within the next decade.

“Every year, wind becomes cost competitive in more states, and this wind vision report shows that all 50 states could have utility-scale energy by 2050,” said White House Deputy Assistant to the President for Energy and Climate Change Dan Utech.  “The United States is uniquely poised to accelerate development of this important resource and technology, and the report will help us continue to build on the strong progress we’ve already made.”

In 2013, an estimated total of more than 50,000 American jobs were supported by wind investments. The report projects that wind could support more than 600,000 jobs by 2050 in industries such as construction, engineering, transportation, manufacturing, operations, maintenance, and supporting services.

The report also highlights the public health and environmental benefits of wind today and into the future. As a clean energy source, wind power could displace more than 12.3 gigatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, equating to a global economic value of $400 billion. Additionally, growth in the wind sector could lower the cumulative electric sector expenditures by $149 billion by 2050.
The Energy Department has supported research and development that has helped the wind industry install more than 60 gigawatts of wind power capacity–enough to power 16 million homes–and has helped decrease the cost of wind energy by more than 90 percent. While the wind industry is maturing, many future actions and efforts remain critical to further advancement of domestic wind energy. Continued technology development is essential to reducing costs in the near term and maximizing savings in the long term. This report not only sets the scene for the future of the wind industry, but also defines a roadmap of actions the wind energy industry and the research community can take to optimize wind’s potential contribution to the nation’s energy portfolio. 
The nine core “action areas” in the report’s roadmap range from technology advancement to workforce development, and are designed to help remove hurdles to wind power deployment, while leveraging and boosting U.S. manufacturing competitiveness and our domestic clean energy workforce. Carrying out the roadmap actions could also reduce the cost of implementing future policy measures.

For more information on the Energy Department's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, or the Wind Program specifically, please visit For the Department’s 2008 report entitled 20% Wind Energy by 2030, click here. To learn more about the Wind Vision, click here.
Results: Overall Positive Benefit to the Nation
The Wind Vision concludes that U.S. wind deployment at the Study Scenario levels would have an overall positive economic benefit for the nation. Numerous economic outcomes and societal benefits for the Study Scenario were quantified, including:
• An approximately 1% increase in electricity costs through 2030, shifting to long-term cost savings of 2% by 2050.
• Cumulative benefits of $400 billion (net present value 2013-2050) in avoided global damage from GHGs  with 12.3 gigatonnes of avoided GHG emissions through 2050. Monetized GHG benefits exceed the associated costs of the Study Scenario in 2020, 2030, and 2050 and on a cumulative basis are equivalent to a levelized global benefit from wind energy of 3.2¢/kWh of wind.
• Cumulative benefits of $108 billion through 2050 for avoided emissions of fine particulate matter (PM), nitrogen oxides (NOX), and sulfur dioxides (SO2). Monetized criteria air pollutant benefits exceed the associated costs of the Study Scenario in 2020, 2030, and 2050, and on a cumulative basis are equivalent to a levelized public health benefit from wind energy of 0.9¢/kWh of wind
Quantified consumer cost savings of $280 billion through 2050 from reduced natural gas prices outside of the electricity sector, in response to reduced demand for natural gas and its price elasticity. This is equivalent to a levelized consumer benefit from wind energy of 2.3¢/kWh of wind.
• A 23% reduction in water consumed by the electric sector in 2050, with significant value in locations with constrained water availability.
• Transmission capacity expansion similar to recent national transmission installation levels of 870 miles per year, assuming equivalent single-circuit 345-kilovolt lines with a 900-MW carrying capacity.
• Land use requirements for turbines, roads, and other wind plant infrastructure of 0.04% of contiguous U.S. land area in 2050.
The Study Scenario also identifies certain other impacts, such as those to wildlife and local communities. It does not, however, monetize these impacts, which are highly dependent on specific locational factors.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE)
Press Release dated March 12, 2015

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