Wind is a clean, renewable energy source that accounts for nearly five percent of U.S. net electricity generation – a percentage that has doubled since 2010.((U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Information Administration, “Electricity Data Browser,” http://www.eia.gov/electricity/data.cfm.)) The wind industry generated over 82,000 megawatts in 2016, or enough electricity to power 24 million average American homes.((Diane Cardwell, “Wind Power Surpasses Hydroelectric in a Crucial Measure,” Feb. 9, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/09/business/energy-environment/wind-energy-renewable.html.)) As a rapidly growing energy source, wind energy is on track to provide clean, affordable, and reliable energy for hundreds of millions of American families of all income levels and businesses of all sizes across the nation.
The rapid expansion of the wind industry is due in part to Americans realizing the numerous economic and environmental benefits the industry provides. Wind is a plentiful and readily available energy source, and thanks to improved technologies, it is now cost competitive with new gas-fired power plants.((U.S. Department of Energy, “Wind Energy Benefits,” http://www.nrel.gov/docs/fy15osti/62823.pdf.))
Wind power costs could be reduced by 24 to 30 percent by 2030((Megan Geuss, “Get ready for 24-30% reduction in cost of wind power by 2030,” https://arstechnica.com/science/2016/11/experts-forecast-giant-11mw-offshore-wind-turbines-by-2030/.)), which would benefit consumers such as farmers and working-class families.
The wind industry also allows the U.S. to diversify its national energy portfolio. Adding wind to the nation’s energy mix not only helps reduce America’s reliance on imported energy, but also helps reduce the impacts of price spikes and supply disruptions. Stabilizing the cost of electricity translates into lower electric bills for American homes and businesses.((Ibid.))
Wind energy development also supports thousands of jobs at manufacturing facilities and in supporting services throughout the country.((U.S. Department of Energy, “Wind Energy Supporting 600,000 Jobs by 2050,” March 12, 2015, https://energy.gov/eere/articles/wind-energy-supporting-600000-jobs-2050.)) Estimates from the Department of Energy project that there will be more than 600,000 wind-related jobs by 2050, making the industry a major contributor to America’s energy economy.((Ibid.))
American wind power supported a record 88,000 jobs at the start of 2016 – an increase of 20 percent in a year.((American Wind Energy Association, “US wind power jobs hit record, up 20 percent in 2016,” April 12, 2016, http://www.awea.org/MediaCenter/pressrelease.aspx?ItemNumber=8736.))
Finally, offshore wind development provides the U.S. an opportunity to further protect American families from energy shortages and price spikes. Development of offshore wind farms can harness the energy of strong, consistent winds that are found over the oceans. With 53% of the nation’s population living in coastal areas where energy costs and demands are usually high,((BOEM, “Offshore Wind Energy,” https://www.boem.gov/Offshore-Wind-Energy/.)) offshore wind development could provide families and businesses in these areas with immense quantities of affordable and reliable energy.