Wind Power to Reach 20% US Demand by 2030
Wind turbines in the US can now produce 50 gigawatts of electricity, or the equivalent of 11 nuclear power plants or 44 coal-fired plants, powering nearly 13 million American homes, according to the American Wind Energy Association.
As wind power blows stronger across the country, some states like South Dakota and Iowa get as much as 20 percent of their total electricity from wind. After setting wind power generation records in October, Texas is swiftly getting to work on a massive $6.8 billion transmission project that will more than double its total installed wind power by 2013. As of now, about 8 percent, or 10,000 MW, of Texas' power comes from wind, expected to jump up to 16 percent in the next year.
In the long run, wind is making electricity cheaper. Texas experienced intervals where wholesale electricity dropped to $0.00 in October due to wind power. Part of the drop was caused by high winds at night, followed by a low energy demand on an early morning, but mostly, wind is just cheap—the cheapest form of renewable energy.
Another reason for the sudden demand to ramp up wind power generation is the growing concern of rolling blackouts caused by extreme weather and its effect on power plants. Since power plants use water for cooling, the lower the water levels get, the bigger and more unpredictable the problem could be.That's one of the advantages of wind farms—they don't use water. Compared to thermal electric generation, wind power conserves 30 billion gallons of water annually.
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General Electric has played a particularly important role in pushing the renewable source of power. There are now 18,000 high-tech GE wind turbines installed around the world, accounting for 60 million megawatts of renewable energy annually.
“The wind business might be one of the best investments we’ve made and Global Research has the technology and to keep it strong,” says Mark Vachon, GE’s vice president for ecomagination.
"The cost of wind power has gone from mid-double digits to mid-single digits, largely due to wind turbine efficiency, manufacturing productivity and availability improvements," says Vic Abate, head of GE's wind business and a former chairman of the American Wind Energy Association. "Within the next two years, wind will generate 5 percent of the planet's electricity and continue to be one of the top three new power generation sources in the next decade."
Wind energy has the potential to meet up to 20 percent of energy needs in the US by 2030, offsetting 626 million tons of CO2 emissions, saving over 450 billion gallons of water and creating over two million US jobs, according to the US Department of Energy.
Drax advances biomass strategy with Pinnacle acquisition
The Group’s enlarged supply chain will have access to 4.9 million tonnes of operational capacity from 2022. Of this total, 2.9 million tonnes are available for Drax’s self-supply requirements in 2022, which will rise to 3.4 million tonnes in 2027.
The £424 million acquisition of the Canadian biomass pellet producer supports Drax' ambition to be carbon negative by 2030, using bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) and will make a "significant contribution" in the UK cutting emissions by 78% by 2035 (click here).
This summer Drax will undertake maintenance on its CfD(2) biomass unit, including a high-pressure turbine upgrade to reduce maintenance costs and improve thermal efficiency, contributing to lower generation costs for Drax Power Station.
In March, Drax secured Capacity Market agreements for its hydro and pumped storage assets worth around £10 million for delivery October 2024-September 2025.
The limitations on BECCS are not technology but supply, with every gigatonne of CO2 stored per year requiring approximately 30-40 million hectares of BECCS feedstock, according to the Global CCS Institute. Nonetheless, BECCS should be seen as an essential complement to the required, wide-scale deployment of CCS to meet climate change targets, it concludes.