Wind power

Although wind power now provides only about 1% of the electricity generated in the U.S., it is our fastest growing energy source, according to a recent report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS). Internationally, only Germany exceeds the wind power capacity of the U.S. While covering the broader technology, economic and policy issues of U.S. wind power, the report also cites its specific pros and cons, among them:

  • Operations do not produce CO2 or other air pollutants
  • Reduces power market exposure to volatile fuel prices
  • Assists rural development by giving landowners income from land leases
  • May provide more "green jobs" than other power generation options
  • Offers shorter construction lead time than some other options
  • Power output depends on when the wind blows, not when users need electricity
  • New transmission infrastructure is often required
  • Depends on inconsistent federal incentives
  • Causes bird and bat deaths

Wind Power in the United States: Technology, Economic, and Policy Issues, RL34546 (pdf, 53pp/664kB), June 20, 2008, from Open CRS

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