Wind energy continues to see strong growth, solid performance, and attractive prices in the U.S.,
according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and prepared by Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab). With levelized costs of just over $30 per
megawatt-hour (MWh) for newly built projects, the cost of wind is well below its grid-system, health,
and climate benefits.
Wind Energy PricesParticularly in the central United States, and supported by federal tax incentives –
remain low even with ongoing supply chain pressures, with utilities and corporate buyers selecting wind
as a low-cost option.
Key findings from DOE’s annual “Land-Based Wind Market Report” include the following:
- Wind representing a sizable share of all capacity additions from 2012 to 2021
- Wind comprises a growing share of electricity supply.
- U.S. wind power capacity grew at a strong pace in 2021, with 13.4 gigawatts (GW) of new capacity added representing a $20 billion investment and 32% of all U.S. capacity additions.
Wind energy output rose to account for more than 9% of the entire
nation’s electricity supply. At least 247 GW of wind are seeking access to the transmission system; 77
GW of this capacity are offshore wind, and 19 GW are hybrid plants that pair wind with energy storage
Wind Project Performance Has Increased Over The Decades
The average capacity factor (a measure of project performance) among recently completed projects was nearly 40%, considerably higher than projects built earlier. The highest capacity factors are seen in the interior of the country.
Turbines continue to get larger. Improved plant performance has been driven by larger turbines mounted on taller towers and featuring longer blades. In 2011, no turbines employed blades that were 115 meters in diameter or larger, but in 2021, 89% of newly installed turbines featured such rotors. Proposed projects indicate that total turbine height will continue to rise.