Wind power is of vital importance for shifting away from fossil fuel use and towards renewable energy sources. In 2019, the use of wind power prevented 198 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions and 103 billion gallons of water consumption. In the U.S., wind power use has more than tripled in the last decade, and was responsible for 7.2% of the nation’s electricity in 2019.
In just one year, more than 3,000 wind turbines were constructed in the U.S., bringing the nation’s total to nearly 60,000 turbines.With a total electricity generation capacity of 107,443 megawatts1,wind energy supported 120,000 jobs across the country in 2019.
Wind turbines convert the linear kinetic energy of moving air into rotational energy, which is then used to spin a generator. Wind technology has improved rapidly in recent years, where turbines built in the last few years generate approximately 79% more power compared to turbines built in the previous decade. As turbines have become more efficient, the cost of wind has dropped dramatically,now priced around 2 cents per kilowatt-hour, down from 9 cents in 2009.
Offshore wind holds great opportunity for potential growth in NY. According to the NYS Energy Research and Development Authority, one offshore wind turbine can generate 8 megawatts of electricity, enough to power approximately 4,000 homes. There are exciting plans for expanding offshore wind in thirteen states, including the Vineyard Wind Project in Massachusetts, intended to be the country’s first commercial-scale offshore wind farm.
Wind Power in New York
Wind power currently generates 3.6% of electric grid power in New York State, with 1,987 MW2 of power capacity , a slight increase from 3.2% recorded for 2018.
Wind power is set to play a large role in New York State’s Green New Deal, which mandates that the state’s utilities produce 100% “carbon neutral” electricity by 20403. New York State government is expanding its wind capacity as part of its Clean Energy Standard (CES), which requires “70% of New York’s electricity comes from renewable energy such as solar and wind by 2030”4. Offshore wind will play a significant role in achieving this goal. As part of CES, New York State’s Offshore Wind Standard4 gives energy credits to utilities that invest in offshore wind. New York State plans to build up to 9,000 megawatts of offshore wind energy by 2035 as part of the CES.
According to The Solutions Project, New York State could get to a 100% renewable energy grid using 40% offshore wind, with the remaining 60% coming from a combination of onshore wind and solar power.
- American Wind Energy Association
- “Cuomo’s Green New Deal Paddles Offshore,” City-Journal.org, January 2019