How Much Wind Energy Can We Harness?
As most states push toward an all of the above energy mindset, or in the case of North Dakota, pushing for carbon neutral by 2030, here is how much wind is left untapped for energy production in the Mon-Dak.
Even though wind isn’t always present, turbines can still actively generate energy 90% of the time through the use of stored energy surpluses. Turbines typically need to be located at higher elevations, where winds tend to be steadier and stronger, but there are alternate ways to utilize wind energy alongside other renewable sources, as has been shown with projects in Oregon and Nevada. Turbines can also be placed on offshore floating platforms, as planned in California.
Montana by the numbers
- Potential wind energy capacity: 678,978 megawatts
- Currently installed wind energy capacity: 880 megawatts
- Current wind energy generation as percent of state's electric grid: 12.6%
Montana ranks in the top 10% of the nation’s windiest states. Electricity generated there benefits not only Montanans but also the electric customers in the Puget Sound area of Washington state.
North Dakota by the numbers
- Potential wind energy capacity: 296,084 megawatts
- Currently installed wind energy capacity: 3,989 megawatts
- Current wind energy generation as percent of state's electric grid: 30.8%
More than 1,500 wind turbines dot the North Dakota landscape.
As the state explores more wind development, one of the challenges has been balancing the often-competing interests of coal and wind energy advocates. Several counties have imposed moratoriums on new wind farms.
States with the most untapped wind energy
#1. Texas (using 33,133 of 1,347,992 megawatts)
#2. Montana (using 880 of 678,978 megawatts)
#3. New Mexico (using 2,723 of 652,575 megawatts)
States with the least untapped wind energy
#1. Rhode Island (using 75 of 192 megawatts)
#2. Delaware (using 2 of 755 megawatts)
#3. New Jersey (using 9 of 945 megawatts)
Statistics provided by Stacker.com