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Title: An assessment of the available windy land area and wind energy potential in the contiguous United States

Technical Report ·
DOI:· OSTI ID:5252760

Estimates of land areas with various levels of wind energy resource and resultant wind energy potential have been developed for each state in the contiguous United States. The estimates are based on published wind resource data and account for the exclusion of some windy lands as a result of environmental and land-use considerations. Despite these exclusions, the amount of wind resource estimated over the contiguous United States is surprisingly large and has the potential to supply a substantial fraction of the nation's energy needs, even with the use of today's wind turbine technology. Although this study shows that, after exclusions, only about 0.6% of the land area in the contiguous United States is characterized by high wind resource (comparable to that found in windy areas of California where wind energy is being cost-effectively developed), the wind electric potential that could be extracted with today's technology from these areas across the United States is equivalent to about 20% of the current US electric consumption. Future advances in wind turbine technology will further enhance the potential of wind energy. As advances in turbine technology allow areas of moderate wind resource to be developed, more than a tenfold increase in the wind energy potential is possible. These areas, which cover large sections of the Great Plains and are widely distributed throughout many other sections of the country, have the potential of producing more than three times the nation's current electric consumption. 9 refs., 12 figs., 13 tabs.

Research Organization:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Organization:
USDOE; USDOE, Washington, DC (United States)
DOE Contract Number:
Report Number(s):
PNL-7789; ON: DE91018887
Country of Publication:
United States