How wind became America’s top renewable electricity source

ANASTASIA ZYG


Wind is now America’s top renewable source of electricity generation. 2020 in particular was a banner year for wind power in the U.S., with more capacity installed in the final quarter of 2020 alone than in all of 2019. Now, the total capacity exceeds 120,000 MW, enough to power about 38 million homes.

Essentially all of that growth was in the onshore wind sector. Developers are planning more offshore projects for the coming years, too. And they’re pioneering advances in the field along the way, like the development of increasingly huge turbines, with individual blades larger than football fields.

But for all the promise of wind power, there are some concerns that have persisted over the years, impeding the expansion of both onshore and offshore turbines. Regulatory and permitting hurdles, concerns over turbine-caused bird deaths and other environmental impacts, and of course the intermittent nature of renewables all pose a challenge.

In the end, wind energy is poised to expand no matter what. The question is how fast.



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