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20% of Wind energy by 2030 in USA

2 agosto, 2010

In 2008, the Department of Energy of the United States published a report that showed the technical viability of an ambitious project: generating 20% of the electricity used in USA from wind energy by 2030.

The DOE, its National Laboratories and companies from the wind sector and the utility sector have cooperated in the development of this report.

The report is free: 20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply


To examine the costs, impacts and challenges related to the goal of reaching 20% wind energy by 2030 or, in other words, reaching 300 GW of new installed wind capacity by 2030.

An estimate of the evolution needed of US new installed wind capacity is shown in the following figure.

Estimate of the new installed wind capacity for the 20% wind energy by 2030 scenario


A comparison between two scenarios was needed to develop the report.

  • In the first scenario, 20% of the electricity used by consumers in the US is generated by wind energy.
  • In the second scenario, no new wind capacity has been installed from nowadays to 2030.

It is important to notice that the study does not make forecasts but analysis of a scenario. Moreover, the report does not consider the possible effects of support policies in the scenario.

The study takes the following hypotheses:

  • the consumption of electricity increases 39%, or 5,8 billion MWh per year, from 2005 to 2030 (EIA)
  • the production of the windturbines increases 15% during the period of time taken into consideration
  • the costs of the windturbines decreases 10% during the period of time taken into consideration


1. The following measures will be needed to reach the goal:

  • Improve grid transmissions,
  • Locations and permits selection,
  • Improve reliability and operability of wind systems, and
  • Increase windturbine manufacture capacity in the US.

2.  Increase installation windturbine capacity from 2000 by the year 2006 to 7000 by the year 2017.

3. This new capacity can be added to the grid by less than 0,5 cents per kWh.

4. There will not be limitations in raw materials availability.

5. Challenges related to the installation of new transmissions lines must be solved.

Benefits and costs of this plan are shown in the following table.

Source: DOE

Finally notice that electricity generated by wind is competitive, as shown in the figure below.

Source: DOE



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