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.

Wind Builds the Future in Rural Communities: Case studies on wind's local economic impacts (August 2020)

Communities across the country, particularly those in rural areas, currently face a barrage of challenges as they seek to build vibrant local economies. Attracting and retaining young people, adequately funding schools, and providing essential services have all proved difficult in recent years. And that was before the COVID-induced recession added another layer of uncertainty. However, some communities are overcoming these obstacles better than others—those hosting wind projects. The following case studies, spanning nine states, provide specific examples of local benefits wind projects create, and highlight the many ways wind is building a prosperous future.

Economic Impact Study of New Offshore Wind Lease Auctions by BOEM (August 2020)

This study confirms additional lease areas are needed to meet demand, reduce pricing, increase competition, and ultimately generate thousands of jobs and billions in investment. Additionally, the findings offer guidance to decision makers about new offshore wind leases which can be a short-term solution to jump start recovery from a Coronavirus pandemic-driven economic slowdown.


Facilitating Hybrid and Co-located Resource Participation in Wholesale Electricity Markets Executive Summary (July 2020)

Hybrid and co-located resources are expected to provide considerable benefits to ISO markets because they can facilitate the integration of variable energy resources (VERs) such as wind and solar; shift wind and solar generation from lower price periods to higher priced periods when the energy is more valuable to customers; and, enhance the performance and capability of resources by adding operational flexibility. However, the full potential of these resources will not be realized if ISO market rules and practices prevent hybrid and co-located resources from offering their full value into ISO markets. To prevent such an outcome, this study reviewed current ISO market rules and practices and identified several issues that need to be resolved.

Executive Summary

White Paper
 

U.S. Offshore Wind Economic Impact Assessment (March 2020)

The offshore wind industry is poised for exponential growth in the United States. Market projections anticipate between 20,000 to 30,000 megawatts (MW) of offshore wind capacity will be operational by 20301, representing between $28 – $57 billion of investment in the U.S. economy. In addition to delivering customers with clean, affordable, and reliable power, the offshore wind industry will also contribute a variety of economic benefits to the U.S. economy, including supporting tens of thousands of jobs, billions in economic output, and investment in critical coastal infrastructure. This report assesses the economic impact potential of the offshore wind industry over the next decade.

 

Grid Vision: The Electric Highway to a 21st Century Economy (May 2019)

To better understand the best way to update and invest in the grid, and any associated consumer benefits, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) undertook a literature review that examines building out the country’s transmission infrastructure. This paper finds investing in upgrading and expanding America’s transmission system will improve electric reliability and resiliency, reduce electricity costs for consumers, bolster national security, reduce environmental impacts, and create jobs and economic development. Dozens of studies confirm that an investment in transmission will pay for itself many times over. 

DOE Study: Markets and Infrastructure Key to Electric Reliability and Resilience (August 2017)

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) new report on the U.S. electric grid makes valuable recommendations for expanding access to reliable, low-cost electricity by streamlining approval of electric transmission infrastructure and using markets to procure essential reliability services. As a low-cost source of energy that can provide reliability services as well as or better than conventional power plants, wind energy will flourish with the expansion of markets and infrastructure. This report provides an analysis of the DOE’s study and examines the ways wind can help build a more reliable and resilient power system.

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.