State of the Union is right: U.S. is #1 in wind energy

In his State of the Union address, President Barack Obama noted that “America is number one in wind power.” Indeed, the U.S. generates more energy from wind than any other country, leading China, Spain, and Germany.

That is because U.S. turbines are nearly twice as productive as Chinese turbines on average. This is due to technological innovation and productivity that has been encouraged by a policy incentive – the renewable energy Production Tax Credit – that only rewards production. This innovation includes:

  • Building taller towers and longer blades for more productive turbines
  • Being smart about siting turbines in wind-rich areas in ways that will capture the most wind
  • Building high-quality wind turbines with minimal downtime

The U.S. continues to be clearly ahead of China and other countries. In 2014, the productivity of Chinese turbines was actually down, which almost entirely offset the gains from their newly installed capacity. In addition, around 15 percent of China’s wind turbines are not even connected to the grid, significantly dragging down their wind production numbers, while all U.S. wind turbines are connected and producing power. Here are the numbers:

The U.S. generated 148,047 Gigawatt-hours (GWh)  of wind energy from January to October in 2014, while China generated only 122,300 GWh. China is not closing the gap with the ratio of wind generated in China to wind generated in U.S. staying almost exactly the same (81.8 percent in 2013, compared to 82.6 percent in January to October in 2014). Data for the last two months of 2014 has not yet been released by either the U.S. or China.

Utility-scale wind was invented in America, and we do it best. By highlighting the fact that U.S. is number one in wind energy in his State of the Union address, President Obama honored the American workers that have helped wind energy make this historic rise.

The White House posted this on their Twitter account during the State of the Union.

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