Humans have been harnessing wind power for millennia, with windmills originally relying on wind to pump water or mill flour. Today’s wind turbines work similarly, with their large blades generating electricity as wind causes them to rotate. As these blades are pushed by the wind, a connected internal shaft that is attached to an electric generator also turns and generates electricity. Wind power is one of the safest sources of energy and relies on one key factor: wind speeds. Unsurprisingly, the majority of America’s onshore wind turbine infrastructure is located in the middle of the nation, where wind speeds are highest.
Today, wind power is the most productive renewable energy source in America, generating nearly half of its renewable energy. In 2022, according to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA),renewable energy sources accounted for about 20.1% of all electricity generated (primarily from wind, solar & hydropower) --of which 9.2.% was from wind, up from 8.4% in 2019. By 2021, the top five wind-generating states, Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois, were generating more than half of all America’s wind energy. For a look at how states compare in terms of utility-scale wind generation, take a look here. There are ten states, located primarily in the southeast, with no wind power facilities at all.
The growth of wind power has been astonishing – especially when you consider that wind energy only made up 0.2% of U.S. electricity generating capacity in 1990.
The U.S. is now investing more in a clean energy transition than any other country in the world except China --which has got us seriously beat.