Land-Based Wind Energy

In the 2021 Edition of the Land-based Wind Market Report, the U.S. Department of Energy reported that “a record 16,836 megawatts (MW) of U.S. wind capacity was installed in 2020, bringing the cumulative total to 121,955 MW.” For the first time in several years, wind power installations outpaced those for solar power.[1] Wind power accounted for 29% of total U.S. capacity additions over the last decade. [2]

Annual and Cumulative Growth in the U.S. Wind Power Capacity

Source: DOE

Relative Contribution of Generation Types in Annual Capacity Additions

Source: DOE

Top states, with respect to wind power capacity, include Texas (3,133 MW), Iowa (11,660 MW), Oklahoma (9,048 MW), Kansas (7,016 MW), and Illinois (6,409 MW). The total installed capacity of wind energy facilities for the fourth quarter of 2020 was 122,465 Megawatts.[3] Wind provides more than 10% of electricity in 16 states, and over 30% in Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, South Dakota, and North Dakota.[4]

Location of Wind Power Development in the United States

Source: DOE

While the U.S. ranks second in terms of international rankings of wind power capacity, it continues to lag when compared to other countries and their wind energy penetration.[5]

Source: DOE

Source: DOE

Offshore Wind Energy

Harsh wind, seawater exposure, and wave conditions mean that offshore wind energy systems require more robust designs than those on land. According to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy, “more than 58% of the U.S. offshore wind resources are located in areas with water so deep that conventional wind turbine foundations—large steel piles or lattice structures fixed to the seabed—are not practical.” U.S. companies are developing innovative solutions like floating offshore wind platforms, which include spar-buoy, tension leg platform, and semi-submersible designs.[6]

In 2016, Block Island Wind Farm became the first offshore wind farm in the U.S.[7] In May 2021, Vineyard Wind I became the first fully approved commercial offshore wind energy project in the United States [8] with the goal of delivering clean energy by 2023. Vineyard Wind will be the nation's first utility-scale offshore wind energy project. [9]  Ocean Wind proposed an offshore wind project for New Jersey.[10] It’s expected to be operational in late 2024 [11]  and be capable of delivering 1,100 megawatts (MW).[12]

View a map with locations of planned wind farms in the U.S. – see their project names, owners and capacity.

Source: 4C Offshore

Updated January 2024 by Jennifer Ostromecki