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A Rising Wind: Better Tech Means Greater State Wind Potential

| Written by John Farrell | No Comments | Updated on Jul 27, 2015 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at
wind turbines sunrise - flickr David Clarke

For states looking to reduce their reliance on dirty, imported energy, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory brings good news on the wind. In a May 2015 report, significantly more wind power potential was found in nearly every state thanks to advancing turbine technology.

In 2015, 40 states could produce 50% or more of their annual electricity use from wind power alone, up from 28 just five years ago. Over two-thirds of states could produce 100% or more of their annual consumption from wind energy.

The following slideshow illustrates the progress since the release of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory’s 1991 study on the available windy land to the 2015 National Renewable Energy Laboratory study.

ILSR has been chronicling the opportunity for states to capture more of their energy dollar since the release of the original Energy Self-Reliant States report in 2008 (using 1991 data). In 2010, our landmark revision provided the first 50-state renewable energy atlas, and showed how two-thirds of states could meet 100% of their electricity needs with in-state renewable resources. The story keeps getting better, as new technology allows commercial scale wind turbines to capture ever more energy from even weaker resources.

States also have the opportunity to capture more of the energy dollars in their wind resource, with community wind projects like South Dakota Wind Partners or Green Energy Farmers.

Whether it’s a matter of renewably-generated power or local energy production, the wind is rising.

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Photo credit: David Clarke via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 license)