Wind can supply more than one third of US energy demand by 2050. Renewables are surging in the US and the fastest growing is wind power. According to a Department of Energy (DoE) Wind Vision report, wind power currently supplies 4.5 percent of US energy by 2016 that will rise to 7 percent. Wind energy has declined in price by almost 60 percent in the last five years and the DoE report predicts that it will be “directly competitive” by 2025.
The switch from coal to wind could help avoid 12.3 gigatonnes of emissions amounting to 400 billion in climate change damage by 2050. In addition to providing emissions free energy, wind will be able to supply more than 600,000 jobs by 2025. Wind power would also conserve water. A total of 23 percent of the water used by the electricity sector would be saved by switching to wind power.
Over the last decade wind has grown due mostly to cost reductions and government support. To keep wind energy blowing strong there will need to be additional support for the industries competitive position.
Clean energy will likely receive major support after a global climate deal is signed at COP 21 in Paris later this year. However, Republican opposition is as predictable as a Swiss clock.
Investments in wind farms averaged $13 billion a year from 2008-2013. Beyond 2016 new government support in the form production tax credits (PTCs) will be required if wind energy is to keep growing in the US. The PTC was killed by Republicans in 2014.
All that it will take for wind energy to power the US is for Republicans to get out of the way.