Welcome to Wind Vision

02 Jan WEF Announces Wind Vision

The Wind Vision campaign is a joint educational effort of the Wind Energy Foundation and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) to educate the American public, the media and decision makers about the potential for, and the many benefits of, expanded wind energy in the U.S. As we build excitement about the promise of renewable energy, we hope to generate support for the policy action that will be needed to make this promise a reality. Our campaign has three components:

  1. Wind Vision Ambassadors, through which we will train and deploy industry leaders and spokespeople from industry allies to deliver our key messages at conferences, workshops and other events and through the media
  2. Reports and Road Shows through which we will generate state-specific reports on the benefits on expanded wind energy and organize media-friendly events around those reports; and third
  3. Grassroots Education, through which we will rally the over 400,000 supporters of wind energy in the AWEA Power of Wind network to deliver our key messages.

Summary

The U.S. Department of Energy’s 2015 Wind Vision report provides a roadmap for wind energy to reliably and cost effectively meet 10 percent of U.S. electricity needs by 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and 35 percent by 2050. Stated differently, the report makes clear that the nation is in the position to double its wind energy generation in 5 years, double it again in the next decade, and then become one of the top energy sources in the country by mid-century.

Benefits to Date

The accomplishments and contributions of the U.S. wind industry are already significant:

  • 61 GW, 50,000+ jobs, manufacturing in 43 states
  • CO2 reduced by 115 million metric tons- equivalent to emission from 270 million barrels of oil
  • Water consumption reduced by 36.5 billion gallons
  • From 2008-2013, the U.S. wind industry exceeded by 32 percent the aggressive projections of cost reductions in Department of Energy’s (DOE) previous report on wind energy, and exceeded by 27 percent its projections of new wind capacity.
  • As the cost of wind energy has fallen dramatically, wind has attracted over $100 billion in private investment since 2008. This investment has provided a critical boost to local economies in many regions across the U.S.

Benefits of Expanded Wind Energy Production

The Wind Study Scenario represents an aggressive, yet credible, scenario documenting an array of cost savings for consumers and economic and environmental benefits.

Cost Savings

  • With more wind energy, electricity prices would be 20 percent less sensitive to fluctuations in the price of fossil fuels, and consumers would see $280 billion in cumulative savings from reduced natural gas prices.
  • Consumers will begin to see direct savings as wind technology continues to improve while fossil fuel energy sources become more expensive, with annual consumer savings projected to reach $14 billion in the year 2050 alone.

New Investment & Job Creation

  • By reaching 20 percent of the nation’s electricity mix by 2030, wind energy would create an additional 230,000 well-paying jobs, $650 million in annual lease payments to landowners and nearly $1.8 billion in tax payments to communities.
  • By 2050, wind energy would create additional 600,000 well-paying jobs, $1 billion in annual lease payments to landowners and nearly $3.2 billion in tax payments to communities.

Environmental

  • Investing in a clean energy future would pay additional dividends immediately for the environment by further reducing carbon pollution, cutting other air pollution, and conserving water.
  • Wind energy is a critical part of the solution to climate change and ocean acidification. In 2013, U.S. wind plants reduced carbon pollution by 115 million metric tons, equivalent to 24 million cars worth of carbon emissions. Wind energy alone has accounted for 28 percent of electric sector emissions reductions since 2005.
  • Growing from currently obtaining 4.5 percent of our electricity from wind to 20 percent will cut electric sector carbon emissions by an additional 16 percent in 2030, on top of the more than 5 percent reduction wind energy already provided as of 2013.
  • Cumulatively through 2050, wind power’s pollution reductions would avoid $400 billion in climate change damages.
  • Wind power would save an additional $108 billion in public health costs by cutting other air pollutants, including preventing 22,000 premature deaths.
  • Wind power would conserve 260 billion gallons of water in the year 2050 alone by displacing 23 percent of total U.S. power plant water consumption.

Countering Wind Energy Reliability Myths

Wind power is a reliable energy source and provides significant amounts of electricity to several states. Utility system operators rely on wind power and successfully integrate it in large amounts.

Supporting points:

  1. Wind is already generating large amounts of electricity.
  • As of 2014, wind reliably provides more than 25 percent of the electricity in Iowa and South Dakota, and more than 12 percent of the electricity needs in 9 states.
  • At one point in April 2013, 35 percent of the electricity on the main Texas grid came from wind energy.
  • On another occasion, the main utility system in Colorado has obtained more than 60 percent of its electricity needs from wind power.
  1. Wind power makes the utility system more reliable because it can help keep the lights on when other power sources fail.
  1. Utility systems can deal with wind power’s variability without difficulty.
  • Utility systems were created to allow many different types of power plants to work together to reliably generate electricity for many consumers.
  • Utility system operators already have to deal with large amounts of variability in electricity demand, both on a daily and seasonal basis. Wind energy adds very little to that existing variability.
  • Adding wind power displaces the most expensive, least efficient power source on the utility grid – usually an older fossil fuel plant.

Countering Wind Energy Cost Myths

  • From 2008-2013, the U.S. wind industry exceeded by 32 percent the aggressive projections of cost reductions in Department of Energy’s (DOE) previous report on wind energy, and exceeded by 27 percent its projections of new wind capacity.
  • The Wind Vision report provides Levelized Cost of Energy (LCOE) projections through 2050 based on a review and analysis of independent literature projections. “LCOE is a convenient summary measure of the overall competitiveness of different generating technologies. It represents the per-kilowatt hour cost (in real dollars) of building and operating a generating plant over an assumed financial life and duty cycle. Key inputs to calculating LCOE include capital costs, fuel costs, fixed and variable operations and maintenance (O&M) costs, financing costs, and an assumed utilization rate for each plant type.”-  Levelized Cost and Levelized Avoided Cost of New Generation Resources in the Annual Energy Outlook 2014
  • Projected decreases from 2014 LCOEs are as follows: 9% by 2020, 16% by 2030 and 22% by 2050 under Central Wind Costs; and 24% by 2020, 33% by 2030 and 37% by 2050 under Low Wind Costs.

To read more about Wind Vision please visit DOE and AWEA. Also see our video about what Wind Energy means for the U.S. wind industry.

 

Wind Vision

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