REALISTICALLY, How much Energy can Wind Supply to the U.S. ?

Wind energy could supply about 20% of the nation’s electricity, according to Battelle Pacific Northwest Laboratory, a federal research lab. Wind energy resources useful for generating electricity can be found in nearly every state.

U.S. wind resources are even greater, however. North Dakota alone is theoretically capable (if there were enough transmission capacity) of producing enough wind-generated power to meet more than one-fourth of U.S. electricity demand. The theoretical potentials of the windiest states are shown in the following table.

for Wind Energy Potential
as measured by annual energy potential in the billions of kWh, factoring in environmental and land use exclusions for wind class of 3 and higher.
B kWh/Yr B kWh/Yr
North Dakota 1,210 11. Colorado 481
2. Texas 1,190 12. New Mexico 435
3. Kansas 1,070 13. Idaho 73
4. South Dakota 1,030 14. Michigan 65
5. Montana 1,020 15. New York 62
6. Nebraska 868 16. Illinois 61
7. Wyoming 747 17. California 59
8. Oklahoma 725 18. Wisconsin 58
9. Minnesota 657 19. Maine 56
10. Iowa 551 20. Missouri 52
Source: An Assessment of the Available Windy Land Area and Wind Energy Potential in the Contiguous United States, Pacific Northwest Laboratory, August 1991. PNL-7789

Experience also shows that wind power can provide at least up to a fifth of a system’s electricity, and the figure could probably be higher. Wind power currently provides nearly 25% of electricity demand in the north German state of Schleswig Holstein. In western Denmark, wind supplies 100% of the electricity that is used during some hours on windy winter nights.

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