U.S. Wind Energy Industry Whitepapers

AWEA whitepapers provide authoritative data and analysis on the U.S. wind energy industry. Available to AWEA members, policymakers, the media, and the general public, these documents offer educational resources on specific wind topics including reliability, economic development, clean air benefits, and consumer savings.

AWEA members may submit ideas for future whitepapers or questions to stats@awea.org.

Summary

Descriptions

Renewable Energy Builds a More Reliable and Resilient Electricity Mix (May 2017)

Technology advances have enabled wind and solar energy to be reliably integrated into the power system, providing grid reliability services as well as or better than conventional power plants. This report answers the most frequently asked questions about how grid operators are able to reliably integrate large amounts of renewable energy. Concise answers are provided in the executive summary, with citations and supporting analysis included in the full report.

Wind Brings Jobs and Economic Development to All 50 States (March 2017)

The American wind industry is a leading creator of jobs and economic development across all 50 states. This report details how the wind industry has invested more than $143 billion in the United States over the last decade, and is poised for future growth. In 2016, the U.S. wind industry broke the 100,000 job marker for the first time, reaching 102,500 industry jobs in all 50 states. Navigant Consulting expects wind-related employment to reach 248,000 jobs by 2020 when including economic activity induced by the wind industry. Looking forward, the industry will drive $85 billion in economic activity through 2020.

Wind Energy Helps Build a More Reliable and Balanced Electricity Portfolio (February 2015)

Some of the most common questions about wind energy focus on how it can be reliably integrated into the power system. This report answers the most frequently asked questions, with lessons learned from grid operators’ experiences reliably integrating large amounts of wind. Concise answers are provided in the executive summary, with citations and supporting analysis included in the full report.

Wind Energy Saves Consumers Money during the Polar Vortex (January 2015)

Wind energy protected Mid-Atlantic and Great Lakes consumers from extreme price spikes during the Polar Vortex event in early January 2014, saving consumers over $1 billion on their electric bills. There and in other regions, wind energy provided large quantities of critical electricity supply when it was needed most. This report details how wind energy improves electric reliability and protects consumers from energy price spikes, particularly when the electric grid is stressed.

The Clean Air Benefits of Wind Energy (May 2014)

Wind energy is a widely available, affordable, and reliable electric generation method for significantly reducing air pollution. As detailed in this whitepaper, wind energy plays a significant role in reducing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), nitrogen oxides (NOx), and sulfur dioxide (SO2) in nearly every state. And wind energy can play an even greater role in reducing emissions reductions going forward, with evidence from more than a dozen utility and independent grid operator studies confirming that wind can reliably provide an even larger share of our electricity needs, in turn producing even larger emissions reductions.

The Economic Benefits of Wind Energy in the Southwest Power Pool (November 2014)

Wind energy provides the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) region with $2.8 billion in societal benefits per year. These benefits include reducing the cost of producing electricity, protecting consumers from increases in the price of other fuels, and reducing public health costs by eliminating harmful pollution. By protecting against electricity and fuel price increases and reducing the need to operate the most expensive power plants, wind energy provides the region’s consumers with $1.2 billion per year in gross benefits. These benefits are in addition to the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development wind energy brings to the SPP region.

The Consumer and Societal Benefits of Wind Energy in Texas (November 2014)

Texas wind energy provides the state with $3.3 billion in societal benefits per year. These benefits include reducing the cost of producing electricity, protecting consumers from increases in the price of other fuels, and reducing public health costs by eliminating harmful pollution. By protecting against electricity and fuel price increases and reducing the need to operate the most expensive power plants, wind energy provides Texas consumers with $1.2 billion per year in gross benefits. These benefits are in addition to the thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic development wind energy brings to Texas.

The Facts about Wind Energy’s Impacts on Electricity Markets (March 2014)

This whitepaper presents the facts on wind energy’s impact on electricity markets. Many claim that wind energy distorts markets and creates negative prices. However, the reality is that while wind energy does have an impact on markets by displacing more expensive forms of energy, this impact is entirely market-driven, is widely seen as beneficial, and occurs for all low-fuel-cost sources of energy. In addition, the majority of negative prices in the market are not caused by wind, and transmission upgrades across the U.S. are helping to eliminate negative pricing instances.