Despite excessive speculation over the future of U.S. energy following Donald Trump’s appointment as President, the renewable revolution shows no signs of slowing.
In particular, the winds of change that are blowing a gale across the country, with total U.S. installed wind capacity equating to 82,183 MW in 2016; that’s the equivalent of 24million American homes powered by wind energy in a year!
So, how is the U.S. wind energy sector driving economic growth across the nation?
According to the American Wind Energy Association, the number of wind related jobs grew by almost 17% last year across development, construction, transportation, manufacturing, operations and services. Having seen a $143billion investment in new wind projects over the past 10 years, it is predicted that the U.S. wind energy sector could see 248,000 jobs created by 2020 – an immense increase of 141%.
With over 40 states currently operating utility-scale wind energy projects, at a glance, we think that manufacturing will see the biggest boost, with more and more facilities cropping up to make wind turbine components, as well as key maintenance functions. The Bureau of Labour Statistics say that “Wind Turbine Technician” has now become the fastest growing job in the U.S., with professionals finding work in wind power at a rate 50% higher than the average industry.
Advances in technology have meant that it’s easier than ever for the wind sector to increase its presence – not only in the U.S., but on an international scale. New opportunities for onshore and offshore wind are continually on the rise due to IoT and data transformation. This will allow for better energy storage and efficiency of the energy grid.
There is also strong potential for wind energy from untapped offshore resources, with Green Tech Media reporting that these technologies to offer four times the generating capacity of the entire U.S. electricity grid.
Supporting Local Communities
The increasing investment into the wind energy sector ultimately offers increasing economic benefits, with the AWEA promoting the wind industry as a “cash crop” for local communities offering land for wind project development. In fact, it is suggested that the wind energy sector is paying approximately $245million every year for leases; a figure that is relentlessly increasing and quickly!
Supply and demand
Will wind power generate enough energy to meet the demands of the ever growing population, or will the U.S. see power outages similar to those down under?
As wind energy overtakes hydropower in becoming the largest source of renewable energy worldwide, it would appear that risk of power cuts due to a lack of generation from renewable sources are minimal!
The wind industry generated over 5.5% of all electricity across the U.S. last year alone. The scale of development is incredible for the renewable energy industry. With wind energy now taking flight in the heart of the Texas oil country and more than 14 states generating over 10% of their electricity from wind power, the future of renewables certainly looks promising.
As it stands, the wind energy industry is in pretty good shape, but what does the future look like for the wind energy sector?