Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Energy Department Releases Report, Evaluates Potential for Wind Power in All 50 States | Department of Energy

In support of the President’s all-of-the above energy strategy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz today announced the release of Enabling Wind Power Nationwide, a report showing how the United States can unlock the vast potential for wind energy deployment in all 50 states—made possible through the next-generation of larger wind turbines. Announced today at the American Wind Energy Association’s WINDPOWER Conference in Orlando, Enabling Wind Power Nationwide builds upon the recently released Wind Vision report, which quantifies the economic, social, and environmental benefits of a robust wind energy future.

The new report highlights the potential for technical advancements to unlock wind resources in regions with limited wind deployment today, such as the Southeast.  These new regions represent an additional 700,000 square miles—or about one-fifth of the United States—bringing the total area of technical wind potential to 1.8 million square miles.

Technological advancements, such as taller wind turbine towers of 110 and 140 meters and larger rotors—currently under development by the Energy Department and its private sector partners—can more efficiently capture the stronger and more consistent wind resources typically found at greater heights above ground level, compared with the average 80 meter wind turbine towers installed in 39 states today.

"Wind generation has more than tripled in the United States in just six years, exceeding 4.5 percent of total generation, and we are focused on expanding its clean power potential to every state in the country," said Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. "By producing the next generation of larger and more efficient wind turbines, we can create thousands of new jobs and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as we fully unlock wind power as a critical national resource."
These advanced wind energy systems will generate more electricity per dollar invested and further drive down the cost of wind energy.  The Energy Department supports research and development that has already helped the wind industry install nearly 66 gigawatts of wind power capacity—enough to power more than 17 million homes—and has helped decrease the cost of wind energy by more than 90 percent. Continuing this technology development is essential to expanding this clean energy source to every state across the nation.  Increasing the amount of land suited to commercial wind development, wind power can also provide local economic development opportunities, including jobs for installers, engineers and other support personnel, in new communities and whole regions with currently untapped resources.
The Wind Vision report, available for download at www.energy.gov/windvision calculated the economic and societal value for future wind scenarios, and included economic calculations as well as quantification of societal impacts, such as greenhouse gases (GHGs), pollutants and water use. The report found that wind delivered a wide range of societal benefits, such as reductions in GHG emissions and water consumption. Central estimates for the value of GHG benefits in the Wind Vision Study Scenario analysis were $125 billion through 2030, air pollutant reductions were $42 billion through 2030, and water consumption reductions were 173 billion gallons per year in 2030. In addition, wind is estimated to support 375,000 jobs in 2030 and $1.8 billion in local tax and lease revenues in 2030....
The Wind Vision report indicates that under a scenario in which wind energy grows to serve 10% of the nation’s electricity demand by 2020 and 20% by2030, wind power is estimated to provide annual benefits of $9 billion in 2020 and $30 billion in 2030 (2013$) from air pollution reductions and greenhouse gas emissions reductions. These environmental benefits are bolstered by consumer savings for natural gas purchases outside the electric sector, wind investment derived jobs totaling 330,000 - 426,000 by 2030, and direct land - lease and property tax payments totaling hundreds of millions of dollars annually by 2020 and billions of dollars annually by 2030.
These benefits are observed to fully offset the expected costs to electricity consumers from increased wind deployment through 2020 and 2030 as existing plants retire and fossil fuel prices trend upward, relative to a scenario that holds wind power at 2013 levels. These conclusions hold under nearly all conditions considered in the Wind Vision, including high and low estimates of costs and benefits
Such benefits highlight the broad-based economic value that wind power provides the nation....

Wind Vision Study Scenario costs and benefits in 2030 

Wind costs have decreased by more than 90% and wind rotor sizes have doubled since the 1980s.
Since the late 1990s, wind energy deployment has grown exponentially. Installed global wind power capacity has increased from 6 GW in 1996 to more than 365 GW as of  year-end 2014 (GWEC 2015). For the period of 2004–2013,annual global investment in wind technology has grown from an estimated $14 billion to more than $80 billion (UNEP 2013, UNEP 2014). Wind contributions to the global electricity supply have mirrored these trends and, as of 2013, wind provided an estimated 3.4% of global generation

In the United States, installed wind power capacity has grown from 1.4 GW in 1996 to more than 65 GW as of year-end 2014.
Brown et al. (2012) quantified empirical impacts in counties hosting wind power projects that were installed between 2000 and 2008 and found an average increase in county-level personal income of $11,000/MW of installed capacity and an average increase in county-level employment of approximately 0.5 jobs/MW
Growth in wind power investment and capacity has supported substantial cost reductions. Total installed project capital costs include not only the turbine, comprising the rotor, drivetrain, and tower, but also the balance of system costs.  Focusing first on U.S. installed costs, capacity weighted averages have been reduced from levels exceeding $5,000/kilowatt (kW) to levels of $1,630/kW in 2013.
Wind power costs are expected to continue to fall, albeit at a slower annual rate than what has been accomplished given the relative maturity of the technology. Analysis conducted by Lantz et al. (2012) and updated by DOE (2015) suggests  that, under business-as-usual conditions, wind power costs could be reduced an additional 9% by 2020 and 16% by  2030, while more aggressive efforts to lower costs could  achieve an additional 24% reduction in LCOE by 2020 and 33% by 2030.
The increased size, mass, and quantity of wind components has resulted in more actively managed wind turbine transportation logistics, making use of a variety of land transportation methods and modes. This has resulted in increased project costs of up to 10% of capital costs for some projects.
The cost of wind turbine towers increases rapidly with increasing height, creating a trade-off between tower cost and the value of added energy production. Under current market conditions, technical innovations will be required for land-based tower heights beyond 120 m to be economical since the installed cost increases faster than the energy production for most sites. Rolled steel is the primary material used in wind turbine tower structures for utility-scale wind projects. Tubular steel tower sections are produced through automated manufacturing processes. Plate steel is rolled and machine-welded at the factory, then transported to and assembled at the project site.  Conventional rolled steel towers can be transported with tower sections up to 4.6 m in diameter over roads and 4.0 m via railroad. Tower diameters exceeding 4.6 m are difficult to transport. These transport restrictions result in sub-optimal tower design and increased cost for tower heights exceeding 80 m. A structurally optimized tower would have a larger base diameter, with thinner walls and less total steel. Overcoming this limitation would reduce project costs and LCOE.
Many alternative tower configurations are in commercial production or being evaluated to overcome transport limitations. These new configurations include on-site fabrication of steel towers, all-concrete towers, hybrid towers that use large diameter concrete bases with conventional tubular steel towers for the upper section, space-frame or lattice structures, and bolted steel shell towers.

While there are many possible technical solutions in existence today, the challenge remains to make these solutions cost effective in the United States. 

For more information on the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, or the Wind Program specifically, please visit www.energy.gov/eere. To learn more about the Wind Vision report released in March, visit the Energy Department’s Wind Vision Web page, and watch this Energy 101 video to see how wind turbines work.

U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) www.DOE.gov
Press Release dated May 19, 2015

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