The U.S. Department of Energy released an in-depth analysis today entitled Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States. The report models various scenarios of wind power penetration into the U.S. energy market and concludes that under “an ambitious but credible scenario” 35 percent of the nation’s electricity could be generated by wind power by 2050. Of that projected 35 percent, seven percent would consist of offshore wind power.
The report also models a “baseline” scenario in which wind power development halts at the currently installed 61 gigawatts of domestic capacity and a “business as usual” scenario in which wind power development continues based on current market conditions and policies. Under the business as usual scenario, the report projects that wind power will meet 25 percent of U.S. electricity demand by 2050.
The report uses these various projections to estimate the economic, environmental and social costs and benefits of such development.
The report also sets forth “a detailed roadmap of technical and institutional actions necessary to overcome the challenges to wind power making a significant contribution to a cleaner, low-carbon, domestic energy economy.” The roadmap is organized around three main themes: reducing wind power costs, expanding developable areas and increasing wind power’s economic value to the nation.