Top 10 States Using Wind Power for Electricity
Long before Nikola Tesla learned to harness electricity, Mother Earth gave her own energy in the wind.
Today to face the dangers of climate change, humanity races to perfect wind energy production. Globally, the European Union and China lead this experiment, with America in coming in at third. In the period between the beginning of 2005 and the end of 2014, there was an average annual growth of 25.6 percent in this clean energy source. The U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) predicts that by 2030, the nation will derive 20 percent of its energy makeup from the wind.
Energy Digital looked at the EIA’s production data for wind energy in 2012 and 2013 to isolate the 10 states that are making the greatest strides toward harnessing the wind.
10. Washington – 7.004 million MWh, 6.12 percent increase from 2012
According to the EIA, Washington leads in electricity generation from all renewable resources. More than three-fourths of its electricity is generated from green resources. The state’s efforts to generate green energy are based on its Energy Independence Act, enacted in 2006. The state’s most important renewable energy resource is hydroelectric. The main source of its hydroelectric energy is the Columbia River, which is second only to the Mississippi River in the volume of its flow. The Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River is the largest hydropower facility in the United States.
9. Colorado – 7.230 million MWh, 21.13 percent increase from 2012
The Rocky Mountain state has ample access to renewable and traditional energy sources. According to the EIA, “Its diverse geography and geology give Colorado the headwaters of major rivers, winds that have created new wealth on the open plains, and substantial crude oil, natural gas and coal resources.”
According to the EIA, clean energy is considered a key industry in Colorado. Like Washington, its laws encourage development of green energy technology. “In 2004, Colorado became the first state with a voter-approved renewable portfolio standard (RPS),”they said. The RPS requires that 30 percent of electricity sold by investor-owned facilities come from renewable energy resources.
The state’s major wind resources are on the eastern plains and mountain crests. Most of its green energy generation comes from wind turbines, followed by hydroelectric facilities.
8. Oregon – 7.456 million MWh, 17.55 percent increase from 2012
Oregon gets two-thirds of its net electricity from renewable resources. When it rains and snows a lot, the figure is four-fifths sincemost of it is hydroelectric. Its second-largest source of net electricity comes from wind power. There are wind farms in the Columbia Gorge and eastern Oregon hills which generate more than 3,000 MW of power. The Beaver State has teamed with Washington, California and British Columbia to make the I-5 West Coast Green Highway, “a national model for sustainable transportation infrastructure,” the EIA said. The project will include public fast-charging locations every 25 to 50 miles for electric vehicles.
7. Minnesota – 8.262 million MWh, 8.50 percent increase from 2012
Minnesota has significant renewable resources. These include open prairies that provide an unobstructed wind energy resource. The North Star State has many wind farms, especially in the southwestern region. In 2013, more than 15 percent of the state’s net electricity generation came from wind power. Like Colorado, Minnesota has adopted RPS for all electricity providers. The EIA states that, “All providers are required to obtain a share of their retail electricity sales from renewable resources.”
6. Kansas – 9.433 million MWh, 81.58 percent increase from 2012
Kansas has considerable energy resources and energy potential. Its strong winds give this prairie state significant wind energy resources. Nearly all of the renewable electricity generation in Kansas comes from the wind. Based on EIA research, “[Kansas’] legislature enacted [an RPS] in May 2009 that requires investor-owned and cooperative electric utilities to obtain 10 percent of their peak demand capacity from eligible renewable resources…”
5. Illinois – 9.625 million MWh, 24.56 percent increase from 2012
Illinois is in the center of our nation and is the most populated, most prosperous Midwestern state. The Prairie State has fossil fuel resources that include substantial amounts of coal and some crude oil. Renewable resources contribute only a small amount to Illinois’ net electricity generation. However, their contribution has increased dramatically over the past decade.
Wind generation is the number one renewable resource for electric power generation in Illinois. The state’s wind resource potential is ranked 15th in the nation. The EIA reports that, “Illinois' [RPS] requires that investor-owned electric utilities with more than 100,000 Illinois customers obtain 25 percent of retail sales from renewable resources by May of 2026, with at least 75 percent of the requirement from wind and 6 [percent] from solar photovoltaics (PV).”
4. Oklahoma – 11.162 million MWh, 36.82 percent increase from 2012
Oklahoma is rich in energy resources, with oil and natural gas wells spread across much of the state. However, fossil fuels are not the state's only energy resources. The open plains in western Oklahoma have significant wind potential.
Wind energy is providing an increasing share of the state's electricity generation. Oklahoma meets almost one-fifth of its electricity generation needs with renewable resources, mostly from wind energy.
3. California – 12.822 million MWh, 31.45 percent increase from 2012
With the largest economy in the nation, the Golden State runs on an abundance of energy. As the most populous state, its total energy demand is second only to Texas. With a substantial supply of crude oil and as a top producer of hydroelectric power, the state is rich in energy resources. California is among the top states in the nation, usually second after Washington, in net electricity generation from renewable resources. Its wind resources are found along the state’s eastern and southern mountain ranges. As part of its Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, the Golden State has established an emissions cap-and-trade program incentivizing investment in renewables.
2. Iowa – 15.568 million MWh, 10.95 percent increase from 2012
Iowa has few fossil fuel energy resources, but substantial renewable energy potential. Wind is the top renewable resource used in Iowa. Most of Iowa's plentiful wind energy is captured in the northern and western parts of the state. The state’s Mandatory Utility Green Power Option requires all electric utilities in Iowa, including those not rate-regulated by the Iowa Utilities Board, to offer green power options to their customers.
1. Texas – 35.890 million MWh, 11.41 percent increase from 2012
Texas leads the nation in both total energy production and consumption. The Lone Star State is rapidly developing its non-hydroelectric renewable energy resources, particularly wind. It became the country's largest wind energy producer in 2006 when it passed California. One year later, Texas became the first state to install 1 gigawatt of wind capacity in a single year. More wind generation capacity is under construction.
Texas has three of the top five wind farms in the nation. The EIA stated, “In 2005, the state legislature changed the [Renewable Energy Mandate,] requiring that 5,880 megawatts, or about 5 percent of the state's electricity demand, come from renewable generation by 2015, and 10,000 megawatts by 2025, including a goal of 500 megawatts of renewable-energy capacity from resources other than wind.”
Carbon dioxide removal revenues worth £2bn a year by 2030
Carbon dioxide removal revenues could reach £2bn a year by 2030 in the UK with costs per megatonne totalling up to £400 million, according to the National Infrastructure Commission.
Engineered greenhouse gas removals will become "a major new infrastructure sector" in the coming decades - although costs are uncertain given removal technologies are in their infancy - and revenues could match that of the UK’s water sector by 2050. The Commission’s analysis suggests engineered removals technologies need to have capacity to remove five to ten megatonnes of carbon dioxide no later than 2030, and between 40 and 100 megatonnes by 2050.
The Commission states technologies fit into two categories: extracting carbon dioxide directly out of the air; and bioenergy with carbon capture technology – processing biomass to recapture carbon dioxide absorbed as the fuel grew. In both cases, the captured CO2 is then stored permanently out of the atmosphere, typically under the seabed.
The report sets out how the engineered removal and storage of carbon dioxide offers the most realistic way to mitigate the final slice of emissions expected to remain by the 2040s from sources that don’t currently have a decarbonisation solution, like aviation and agriculture.
It stresses that the potential of these technologies is “not an excuse to delay necessary action elsewhere” and cannot replace efforts to reduce emissions from sectors like road transport or power, where removals would be a more expensive alternative.
The critical role these technologies will play in meeting climate targets means government must rapidly kick start the sector so that it becomes viable by the 2030s, according to the report, which was commissioned by government in November 2020.
Early movement by the UK to develop the expertise and capacity in greenhouse gas removal technologies could create a comparative advantage, with the prospect of other countries needing to procure the knowledge and skills the UK develops.
The Commission recommends that government should support the development of this new sector in the short term with policies that drive delivery of these technologies and create demand through obligations on polluting industries, which will over time enable a competitive market to develop. Robust independent regulation must also be put in place from the start to help build public and investor confidence.
While the burden of these costs could be shared by different parts of industries required to pay for removals or in part shared with government, the report acknowledges that, over the longer term, the aim should be to have polluting sectors pay for removals they need to reach carbon targets.
Polluting industries are likely to pass a proportion of the costs onto consumers. While those with bigger household expenditures will pay more than those on lower incomes, the report underlines that government will need to identify ways of protecting vulnerable consumers and to decide where in relevant industry supply chains the costs should fall.
Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, Sir John Armitt, said taking steps to clean our air is something we’re going to have to get used to, just as we already manage our wastewater and household refuse.
"While engineered removals will not be everyone’s favourite device in the toolkit, they are there for the hardest jobs. And in the overall project of mitigating our impact on the planet for the sake of generations to come, we need every tool we can find," he said.
“But to get close to having the sector operating where and when we need it to, the government needs to get ahead of the game now. The adaptive approach to market building we recommend will create the best environment for emerging technologies to develop quickly and show their worth, avoiding the need for government to pick winners. We know from the dramatic fall in the cost of renewables that this approach works and we must apply the lessons learned to this novel, but necessary, technology.”
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency estimate a global capacity for engineered removals of 2,000 to 16,000 megatonnes of carbon dioxide each year by 2050 will be needed in order to meet global reduction targets.
Yesterday Summit Carbon Solutions received "a strategic investment" from John Deere to advance a major CCUS project (click here). The project will accelerate decarbonisation efforts across the agriculture industry by enabling the production of low carbon ethanol, resulting in the production of more sustainable food, feed, and fuel. Summit Carbon Solutions has partnered with 31 biorefineries across the Midwest United States to capture and permanently sequester their CO2 emissions.
Cory Reed, President, Agriculture & Turf Division of John Deere, said: "Carbon neutral ethanol would have a positive impact on the environment and bolster the long-term sustainability of the agriculture industry. The work Summit Carbon Solutions is doing will be critical in delivering on these goals."
McKinsey highlights a number of CCUS methods which can drive CO2 to net zero:
- Today’s leader: Enhanced oil recovery Among CO2 uses by industry, enhanced oil recovery leads the field. It accounts for around 90 percent of all CO2 usage today
- Cementing in CO2 for the ages New processes could lock up CO2 permanently in concrete, “storing” CO2 in buildings, sidewalks, or anywhere else concrete is used
- Carbon neutral fuel for jets Technically, CO2 could be used to create virtually any type of fuel. Through a chemical reaction, CO2 captured from industry can be combined with hydrogen to create synthetic gasoline, jet fuel, and diesel
- Capturing CO2 from ambient air - anywhere Direct air capture (DAC) could push CO2 emissions into negative territory in a big way
- The biomass-energy cycle: CO2 neutral or even negative Bioenergy with carbon capture and storage relies on nature to remove CO2 from the atmosphere for use elsewhere