Mapping US wind power by state
Wind power is the most productive renewable energy source in the United States, generating nearly half of America’s renewable energy.
But the wind doesn’t blow fairly across the country, so which countries contribute the most to wind power generation in the United States?
This map uses data from the Environmental Impact Assessment to show how much wind electricity different US states generate, and breaks down the wind’s share of total electricity generation in the top wind-producing states.
Wind electricity generation by country, comparison
All wind power states in America are located primarily in the central and western central regions of the country, where the wind speeds are the highest and most uniform.
Texas is the leader in wind escaping, generating the most 92 TWh of electricity in a year, more than the next three largest states (Iowa, Oklahoma, and Kansas) combined. While Texas is the number one generator in terms of wind-powered electricity, wind makes up only 20% of the state’s total electricity generation.
|condition||Wind Electricity Generation (TWh)||Wind share of net electricity generation|
|North Dakota||13.2 TWh||31%|
Data from February 2020 to February 2021
Meanwhile, wind makes up a much larger share of net electricity generation in states such as Iowa (58%), Oklahoma (35%) and Kansas (43%). For both Iowa and Kansas, wind is the primary power source for power generation in the state after overtaking coal in 2019.
The United States also has 10 states that do not have wind power generation facilities, all of which are located primarily in the Southeast region.
How does wind energy work?
Humans have been harnessing wind power for thousands of years, with windmills originally relying on wind to pump water or a flour mill.
Today’s wind turbines work similarly, with their large blades generating electricity because the wind makes them spin. When these blades are pushed by the wind, an internal shaft connected to an electric generator in turn generates and generates electricity.
Wind energy is one of the safest sources of energy and depends on one major factor: wind speed. When analyzing minimum wind speeds for economic feasibility at a given location, the following average annual wind speeds are required:
- small wind turbines: Minimum 4 meters per second (9 miles per hour)
- Utility-scale wind turbines: Minimum 5.8 meters per second (13 mph)
Unsurprisingly, the majority of onshore wind turbine infrastructure in America is located in the center of the country, where wind speeds are at their highest.
Increasing the capacity of US wind turbines
While wind power made up only 0.2% of US electricity generation capacity in 1990, it is now essential to the clean energy transition. Today, wind power makes up more than 10% of electricity generation capacity in the United States, and that share is set to continue to grow.
Record-breaking wind turbine installations in 2020 and 2021, primarily in the Midwest and Midwest, increased US wind power generation 30% to 135.1 gigawatts.
In 2020, the US increased wind turbine capacity by 14.2 GW, followed by another 17.1 GW in 2021. This year is set to see another 7.6 GW available online, with nearly half of the added capacity for 2022 located in Texas.
After two years of standard wind turbine installations, the expiration of the US production tax credit in 2021 is likely to weaken the rate of future installations.