DOE Issues Annual Wind Power Reports

WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 30, 2023


The U.S. Department of Energy has released three annual reports, reporting that wind power continues to be one of the fastest growing and lowest cost sources of electricity in America.

According to a release from the DOE, wind power accounted for 22% of new electricity capacity installed in the U.S. last year, second to solar, representing $12 billion in capital investment, while also employing over 125,000 Americans. 

Report Details

The reports showed that transformative tax incentives in President Joe Biden’s Investing in America agenda have led to significant increases in near-term wind deployment forecasts and are helping keep wind power prices competitive with other sources of energy like natural gas.

“As one of the cheapest energy sources nationwide, wind energy generates enough electricity to power more than 43 million homes and is creating good-paying jobs for the growing domestic wind energy workforce,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm.

“President Biden’s Investing in America agenda is expanding our nation’s domestic supply chain, increasing energy security, and growing the wind energy market to drive our clean energy future.”

Since the passage of President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, expectations for land-based wind energy installed in 2026 have reportedly increased by almost 60% from about 11,500 megawatts to 18,000 megawatts, which is enough to power an additional two million homes.

Additionally, there have been at least 11 announcements of manufacturing facilities reportedly planning to open, re-open or expand to serve the land-based wind industry. The advanced manufacturing production tax credit in the Inflation Reduction Act was also reportedly estimated to reduce the cost of offshore wind blades by 27% and steel towers by 18%.

The 2023 edition of the Land-Based Wind Market Report, prepared by DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, explains the 8,511 megawatts of new utility-scale land-based wind generation capacity added in 2022—the equivalent of powering 2.5 million American homes.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Wind energy provided 10% of total electricity nationwide, more than 60% of power in Iowa, and over 40% of power in South Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma;
  • 14 states installed new utility-scale land-based wind turbines in 2022. Texas installed the most capacity, with 4,028 megawatts. Other leading states included Oklahoma and Nebraska, with each adding more than 600 megawatts of capacity in 2022;
  • For the first time, non-utility buyers, such as corporations, are purchasing more wind than utilities. Direct retail purchasers of wind—including corporate commitments—buy electricity from at least 44% of the new wind capacity installed in 2022;
  • Wind turbines continue to grow in size and power, contributing to competitive costs and prices. The average capacity of newly installed wind turbines grew 7% from 2021 to 2022, to 3.2 megawatts, while the hub height—distance from the ground to the middle of the turbine’s rotor—increased 4% from 2021 to 2022, to 98.1 meters, slightly taller than the Statute of Liberty. Taller wind turbines can create more electricity by benefitting from the better wind resources available further from the ground; and
  • For wind projects built in 2022, the estimated public health benefits, climate benefits and value to the grid are worth more than five times the cost of generating electricity from wind energy.

In addition to growth in land-based wind, the Biden Administration’s actions to build a clean energy economy have also reportedly helped to jumpstart an American offshore wind industry that could create good-paying jobs, strengthen the nation’s energy security, make the power grid more reliable while lowering energy costs and reduce dangerous climate pollution.

The 2023 edition of the Offshore Wind Market Report, prepared by the DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory, reportedly shows continued progress toward the President’s goal of advancing offshore wind to promote good-paying domestic jobs and provide clean energy. 

The report stated to have found that the capacity of U.S. offshore wind energy projects being developed and currently operating increased 15% from 2022 to 52,687 megawatts, which would be enough to power over 18 million American homes if fully developed.

This reportedly includes two operating projects totaling 42 megawatts, 40 projects under development totaling 47,606 megawatts and an additional 5,039 megawatts of potential capacity in the planning stage. The report also found:

  • In 2022, the domestic offshore wind industry invested $2.7 billion in ports, vessels, supply chain, and transmission, indicating investor confidence in the U.S. offshore wind energy market;
  • The Biden-Harris Administration expanded offshore wind planning beyond the north and mid-Atlantic, including five new lease areas auctioned off the coast of California—the first ever offshore wind lease sale on the Pacific Coast and the first to support commercial-scale floating offshore wind. There are also plans to auction three new wind energy areas for the first time in the Gulf of Mexico;
  • New Jersey and New York combine for the highest energy capacity in the U.S. offshore wind energy pipeline, with more than 20,000 megawatts, followed by Massachusetts (8,189 megawatts) and California (6,102 megawatts);
  • State policies across 13 states aim to procure 112,286 megawatts of offshore wind capacity by 2050; and
  • Major efforts are underway in New York, New Jersey, New England and California to integrate offshore wind energy into long-term state grid planning. 

The 2023 edition of the Distributed Wind Market Report, prepared by the DOE’s Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, stated that 1,755 distributed wind turbines were added across 13 states in 2022. Distributed wind turbines, which serve on-site energy demand or support operation of local electricity distribution networks, total 29.5 megawatts of new capacity and reportedly represent $84 million in new investments in 2022.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Cumulative U.S. distributed wind capacity stands at 1,104 megwatts from over 90,000 wind turbines across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam;
  • Iowa, California and Nebraska led the United States in distributed wind capacity additions in 2022, with two large-scale distributed wind projects in Iowa and one large project each in California and Nebraska; and
  • For small wind capacity additions, defined as turbines up to 100 kilowatts in size, Minnesota led the nation again in 2022. This is largely attributed to a continued push to sell small wind turbines to agricultural markets as a decarbonization solution.

Other DOE News

Earlier this month, the DOE announced that it has awarded almost $34 million to 19 industry- and university-led projects on clean hydrogen. 

According to the DOE's release, the funding would help these projects as they work to make clean hydrogen a more available and affordable fuel for electricity generation, industrial decarbonization and transportation. 

The release says that electricity generated from clean hydrogen will work towards the Biden administration’s goal of achieving a zero-carbon American power sector by 2035 and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050.

Clean hydrogen can reportedly be produced from zero-emissions electricity generated by wind, solar, geothermal and nuclear, as well as from the conversion of leak-tight natural gas as “sustainably sourced biomass with carbon capture and storage.” This clean fuel, the released explains, can be used in a fuel cell or a gas turbine to create electricity with only water and heat as byproducts.

According to the DOE, over 95% of the roughly 10 million metric tons of hydrogen produced in the U.S. comes from natural gas without the capture and geologic storage of carbon dioxide. This reportedly results in the release of significant emissions and is why advancing clean hydrogen production is important in addressing climate change.

The DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), under the supervision of the DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), will reportedly manage the selected projects, which include:

  • Developing technologies that could help produce clean hydrogen at lower cost and with less energy;
  • Exploring ways to produce hydrogen using biomass, effluent waters from oil and natural gas development and production and other wastes; and
  • Expanding options for safe and efficient hydrogen transport and storage across the nation.

The FECM has also reportedly announced investments of over $122 million in 72 projects since January 2021 to explore new, clean methods of producing hydrogen, as well as improving the performance of hydrogen-fueled turbines.

The projects will reportedly support the DOE’s Hydrogen Shot Initiative, which looks to reduce the cost of clean hydrogen by 80% to $1 per kilogram in one decade to grow new, clean hydrogen pathways in the U.S.

Also outlined in the U.S. National Clean Hydrogen Strategy and Roadmap, achieving commercial-scale hydrogen deployment is critical to building a “strong clean energy economy” in the country, while enabling long-term decarbonization objectives

According to the release, recent estimates indicate that the country’s growing hydrogen economy has the potential to add 100,000 net new direct and indirect jobs by 2030.

The DOE adds that priority areas of technology work include carbon capture, carbon conversion, carbon dioxide removal, carbon dioxide transport and storage, hydrogen production with carbon management, methane emissions reduction and critical minerals production.

A list of the projects selected for funding can be found here.

   

Tagged categories: Air pollution control; Air quality; Emissions; Environmental Control; Environmental Controls; Environmental Protection; Green Infrastructure; Health & Safety; NA; North America; Power; Power; Program/Project Management; Research; U.S. Department of Energy; Wind Towers

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