20% Wind Energy by 2030: Changing America’s Electricity Supply
A briefing in conjunction with the U.S. House Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Caucus
Friday, July 25, 2008
10:00 a.m. - 11:30 a.m.
2325 Rayburn House Office Building
On July 25, the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) hosted a briefing on the feasibility of expanding wind power to provide 20 percent of U.S. electricity needs by 2030 while supporting 500,000 domestic jobs, dramatically increasing U.S. wind equipment manufacturing capacity, and reducing carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation. Achieving a 20 percent contribution from wind will require policies that provide stability and predictability for investors in clean power generation and that promote construction of the transmission infrastructure needed to deliver renewable energy to urban areas. The following experts gave an overview of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) report, 20% Wind Energy By 2030: Increasing Wind Energy’s Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply, and outlined AWEA’s federal policy recommendations to support this expansion:
- Jim Walker, Vice Chairman of the Board, enXco, renewable energy project developer, Presentation (pdf)
- Steve Lindenberg, Team Leader, Technology Application, Wind and Hydropower Technologies, U.S. Department of Energy
- Greg Wetstone, Senior Director of Governmental & Public Affairs, AWEA, Presentation (pdf)
- Jaime Steve, Legislative Director, AWEA and Carol Werner, Executive Director, EESI (Moderators)
The United States has incredible wind resource potential both land-based and offshore, which exceeds total electricity demand.
In order to support the goal of meeting 20 percent of US energy needs through wind by 2030, the rate of wind turbine installation needs to be tripled, tax credits must be renewed, and a thick lined transmission infrastructure must be constructed.
Wind power development creates jobs, especially in construction and manufacturing. In 2007 alone, new tower, blade, turbine and assembly plants opened in Illinois, Iowa, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin and seven other facilities were announced.
The federal government should provide incentives for residential scale wind turbines, more funding for research and development, and guidelines for fair and efficient siting.
Wind technology requires minimal land, emits no greenhouse gases, and has the potential to decrease US dependence on foreign oil by 38%.
Arriving at this 20 percent goal will result in a reduction of 825 million tons of CO2 annually, 500,000 jobs created and a 17% reduction in water consumption by 2030.
The DOE report, released in May 2008, found that a 20 percent wind contribution to U.S. electricity supply by 2030 would reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 25 percent in 2030 (an amount equivalent to taking 140 million vehicles off the roads); reduce natural gas use for electricity generation by 50 percent, which would in turn lower the pressure on natural gas prices; increase annual revenues to local communities by more than $1.5 billion by 2030; and add only 50 cents per month to the average retail ratepayer’s bill.
AWEA is the national trade association of the U.S. wind energy industry. The association’s membership includes global leaders in wind power development, wind turbine manufacturing, and energy, as well as a broad range of component and service suppliers.
EESI is a non-profit organization established in 1984 by a bipartisan, bicameral group of members of Congress to provide timely information on energy and environmental policy issues to policymakers and stakeholders and develop innovative policy solutions that set us on a cleaner, more secure and sustainable energy path.