Wind Turbines in Idaho from the US Department of Energy

Transitioning to Renewable Energy Gains Momentum

The clean energy transition continues to gain pace.

Wind Power Statistics

The state of Texas now ranks first in the nation for installed wind capacity and number of turbines, according to the US Energy Information Administration. (EIA, July 2019)

Texas ranks first in United States installed wind capacity and number of turbines from US Energy Information Administration

At least one installed wind turbine can be found in 41 states. Naturally, as the saying goes, everything is bigger in Texas: and Texas has more than 13,000 turbines and the most installed wind capacity at 24.2 gigawatts (GW).

And as you’d expect, turbine technology has advanced. Larger turbines provide more wind power density, which means more power capacity per individual turbine.

The evolution of the wind turbine over time from BloombergNEF

Other states transitioning to renewable energy with wind production and turbines are California, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas and Illinois. States with the highest turbine heights are those that have adopted renewable power generation more recently and are taking advantage of the larger turbine efficiency. Those with turbines above the national average in height include Connecticut, Rhode Island, Ohio, Michigan, and Missouri.

Evolution of wind turbines show the promise of transitioning to renewable energy with wind power density

Texas Keeps Transitioning to Renewable Energy Through Incentives for Solar and Wind

A new law in Texas (known in the state’s economic development sector as the “Chapter 312 abatement program” – from H.B. 3413) extends the deadline for wind and solar generation property tax abatement programs. The economic development programs were set to expire on Sept. 1 of this year. The new deadline is Sept. 1, 2029. The abatements will continue to boost solar and wind development in Texas. (Solar Industry Magazine, August 2019)

The below chart shows a sample project tax impact with Chapter 312 abatements, and why this is a boon for renewable economic development in states like Texas which have no income tax and rely heavily on property taxes:

Texas Chapter 312 Abatement Tax sample showing positive economic development impact of renewables

Renewable Capacity Exceeds Coal in US

As coal generation has declined due to several market forces, renewable energy has surged—for the first time producing more power in the US than coal. (Yale Environment E360 Digest, June 2019)

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) reported 21.56 percent of the nation’s generating capacity as of April 2019 was from solar, wind, hydropower, biomass and geothermal.

Coal continues its 40-year downward trend, accounting for 21.55 percent of generation in the US. Natural gas continues to grow to produce more than 44 percent of the US total energy capacity as of last April.

FERC forecasts renewables could account for one quarter of the nation’s capacity in just three more years.