Wind power will account for an estimated 25 percent of total electricity demand in 2050, according to a report released by the US Department of Energy (DOE). The report, Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States, looks at the future of wind power through 2050 and the economic benefits that come with a robust wind industry.
Wind power generation in the United States has tripled since 2008, increasing from 1.5 percent of annual electricity end-use demand to 4.5 percent through 2013. Through 2030, growth in wind generation and capacity will be limited. Wind generation is projected to settle at about 7 percent of total electricity demand in 2016 after projects currently under construction — and qualifying for the federal production tax credit — are placed into service. By 2030, DOE projects that wind power will account for 10 percent of total electricity demand. After 2030, however, wind becomes more competitive as a result of continued cost improvements, further investments in wind energy systems, projected increases in fossil fuel prices and increased demand for new power generation.
Within the next decade, wind power is projected to be directly competitive with conventional energy technologies.
The DOE has supported research and development that has helped the wind industry install more than 60 GW of wind power capacity and has helped decrease the cost of wind energy by more than 90 percent. Continued technology development is essential to reducing costs in the near term and maximizing savings in the long term, says the report.
The Wind Vision starts with business-as-usual (BAU) conditions, which assume a future scenario under enacted federal and state policies as of January 1, 2014. Modeling inputs were extracted from the published literature as well as the DOE Energy Information Administration’s Annual Energy Outlook (AEO) 2014. The Wind Vision is an update and expansion of an earlier DOE report, 20% Wind Energy by 2030.