The U.S. Department of Energy says current wind power technology is capable of powering 20 percent of the nation’s electricity. A DOE report, “20% Wind Energy by 2030,” finds an acceleration in the growth of wind power could reduce national consumption of natural gas by 11 percent and consumption of coal by 18 percent each year. The report states that this would mean a reduction of 825 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
“This is the equivalent of taking 140 million cars off the road,” said Randall Swisher, of the American Wind Energy Association.
“We can do this nationally for less than half a cent per kilowatt hour if we have the vision,” said Andrew Karsner, the DOE’s assistant secretary for efficiency and renewable energy.
According to the DOE’s report, the growth rate needed to reach 20% would pose challenges for the wind energy industry but is achievable. Already, the wind industry is attracting many new entrants — traditional utilities like Florida Power and Light, smaller wind developers and even big oil companies.