Wind has been used as a source of energy since early history when windmills were used to grind grain and pump water. Ever since then we have continued utilizing wind energy, and in 1980 the first large-scale wind farms were built in California. Since then we have seen many advances being made in the technology for wind turbines.
Currently the top three states for installed wind capacity are Texas, Iowa, and California, but Iowa leads the way in wind energy as a share of total electricity generation (31%). When looking at the actual number of turbines, Iowa ranks second in the U.S. with 3,718 as of 2015, behind Texas with 10,390 turbines.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wind turbine technology has advanced greatly, as shown below. The maps on the left show both the hub height and rotator diameter for the turbines across the United States in 2001. On the right hand side you can see how many turbines have been added across the county as of 2014, as well as the increasing size of the turbines.
As you can see in the maps above, the number of wind turbines across the United States has grown significantly since 2001. These wind energy projects support a wide variety of jobs, from construction and manufacturing to maintenance and support activities in the local communities. Additionally, landowners receive lease payments for the use of their land – for example, in Iowa an estimated $15-20 million is paid out in annual land lease payments.
How do you think the use of wind energy will change in the next 10 years? Or 100 years? Comment below!
- wind energy