Taller Wind Turbines Boost State Energy Self-Reliance

Date: 11 Sep 2012 | posted in: Energy, Energy Self Reliant States | 2 Facebooktwitterredditmail

A story in the Minneapolis Star Tribune today highlights the increasingly common use of 100 meter wind turbines for new wind power projects, up from the previous 80 meter standard.  The technological change grabs more wind energy, with consistently higher wind speeds at higher altitudes, meaning states can get even more power from a similar number of turbines.

In our 2010 report Energy Self-Reliant States, we illustrated the potential for state self-reliance on wind power with the following map, using NREL data that assumed turbine heights of 80 meters (and a minimum capacity factor of 35%, to be conservative).  If you mouse over the map below, you can see what the same map looks like assuming the use of 100 meter towers, with projects operating at a 30% capacity factor or greater.

Five more states are able to get 100% or more of their electricity from wind power (for a total of 27) and 30 states could get at least half their electricity from in-state wind power alone.

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John Farrell
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John Farrell

John Farrell directs the Energy Democracy initiative at the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and he develops tools that allow communities to take charge of their energy future, and pursue the maximum economic benefits of the transition to 100% renewable power.