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WIND POWER: A CRUCIAL ROLE IN THE FUTURE OF US ENERGY SUPPLY

Wind power could supply 35% of US energy demand by 2050, according to a new report.

A new report from the United States’ Department of Energy (DoE) says wind energy could supply 10% of electricity by 2020 and 20% by 2030 and fill 35% of energy demand by 2050, becoming “directly competitive” with fossil fuels and supporting more than 600.000 jobs across the country; also, generating electricity from wind would help avoid 12.3 gigatonnes of emissions and US$400 billion in global damage from climate change by 2050, and would ensure a 23% reduction in water consumption in the electricity sector by the same year.

However, wind’s growth over the past years hailed from wind technology cost reductions and federal and state policy support, so it is essential that the government keeps backing wind’s competitive position in the market, for example by putting plans to increase US clean energy production at the centre of the country’s contribution to the imminent UN Paris climate deal.

At the end of 2014 the US government withdrew the Production Tax Credits (PTCs), a form of support that guaranteed an incentive for the first 10 years of a facility’s operating life in the wind energy production sector, and a bill to extend PTCs for 5 years was defeated in the Senate in January. This, according to the report’s authors, could jeopardise growth chances in the sector.

Major investments are needed in the transmission infrastructure field as well, given the poor state of the US national grid; in fact, renewable technologies would work better if they had access to a grid that could send power over long distances, as this could compensate for low wind or sun levels in some states.

 

The gLAWcal Team

POREEN project

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

(Source: RTCC)