You are here

It's Time for a New Wind Vision (Text Version)

Below is the text version for the It's Time for a New Wind Vision video.

Image of a PowerPoint slide titled "It's Time for a New Wind Vision," by Jose R. Zayas, Director, of the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office, May 6, 2013. To the side is the cover of the 20% Wind Energy By 2030 report, with the picture of a wind turbine on it.

Over the past few years, wind energy has been one of the fastest growing energy markets both in the U.S. and worldwide, but what does that mean for our renewable energy future? I'm Jose Zayas, Director of the Wind and Water Power Technologies Office; our office is leading the U.S. Department of Energy's efforts to develop a new vision for wind power.

The words "A New Wind Vision" gradually appear on the screen. An image a globe appears and centers on the United States.

In 2008, the Department published the report 20% Wind Energy by 2030, attempting to answer the question—is 20% wind energy possible? The work, analysis, and results that were disseminated in that report were actually done in 2006.

The United States is overlaid with a map showing the wind capacity by state and year in megawatts. The map starts in 2006 and progresses year-by-year until 2012. Text appears: "In 2012, wind power comprised 42% of all new electric generation, making it the largest source of new generation."

At the time, we were installing 1 gigawatt per year, and uncertain as to whether industry and transmission operators could scale to 12 – 16 gigawatts per year. Under the leadership of the Department of Energy, industry, AWEA, OEMs, national labs, non-profits, transmission organizations, academia, and many others came together to deliver the answer to that question with a resounding yes. 20% energy is possible.

The 20% Report has had a tremendous impact on changing the national conversation about wind. Reflecting on this opportunity, the department has been embarking over the last few months, in coordination with many leaders from the industry—AWEA, The Wind Energy Foundation—in reflecting on a new vision. Three timeline scenarios will be addressed—2020, 2030, and 2050—to be in lockstep with current and future needs.

The president has an aggressive agenda to reduce carbon by 80% by 2050, which could result in good paying jobs across the nation. Wind energy must do its part in contributing to that agenda, and our vision must evaluate the benefits, the investments, and the impacts wind will have within those timeframes so we can begin our alignment today.

Four topics pop up: Wind Energy Deployment, Technology Evolution, Manufacturing and Jobs, and Renewable Energy Futures Study. "Wind Energy Deployment" opens.

A graph appears, showing the cumulative installed capacity in gigawatts of land-based and offshore wind energy. A red line graph overlay shows the actual installation to date, and 2012 shows a total of 60,000 megawatts.

Looking at the original 20% scenario, what the graph is showing in green is land-based wind's contribution to the scenario's projection of 20% of U.S. electricity from wind by 2030. The blue is offshore. More remarkable, is the red overlay, which clearly shows that the industry has not only been able to scale, but to install wind energy in aggressive quantities.

The original 20% report projections have been exceeded by the wind industry, with a record year in 2012, installing 12 gigawatts—leading all energy installations—exceeding even new natural gas installations. 2012 ended with a collective total energy capacity of over 60 gigawatts—more than the original 20% report had projected for this period of time. I congratulate the industry for their commitment, for showing their ability to scale, and for a record-breaking year.

The question now in front of us is, in light of everything we have learned, with the differences in technology, markets, and policy, is what does the future look like? How can the changes and trends that have happened over the last few years be taken into account?

Four topics pop up: Wind Energy Deployment, Technology Evolution, Manufacturing and Jobs, and Renewable Energy Futures Study. "Technology Evolution" opens.

A graph pops up showing the hub height of wind turbines graphed against years. The graph starts in 1998-99, with a hub height of under 60 meters. It increases yearly until 2012, when it is 93.5.

There have been some drastic changes in the technology portfolio. Many started in the industry, back in the 1990's, when these machines were quite small, in some cases rudimentary. The size of turbine rotors and tower heights has grown faster than expected. Machines have gotten taller, and rotors have become significantly larger. In addition, given market barriers such as environmental consideration, permitting, and radar, there have been pressures to install machines in lower wind resource sites. It is important to continue to stay competitive.

One way to do this is to increase the rotor size, and of course tower heights. The new Wind Vision Report is poised to reevaluate the next generation of technologies and understand and appreciate the changing landscape.

The new report will analyze what has changed in terms of technology, in terms of future energy demands, costs, competition with other sources such as shale gas, and new approaches and tools for wind integration. All of these have to be considered in order to continue to have a significant impact in terms of deploying wind energy across the nation.

Four topics pop up: Wind Energy Deployment, Technology Evolution, Manufacturing and Jobs, and Renewable Energy Futures Study. "Manufacturing and Jobs" opens.

A map of the United States appears, with red dots representing the number of manufacturing facilities in 2012. There are 559 facilities, 25,500 manufacturing jobs, and 80,700 total jobs represented.

It is important to recognize that the wind industry has had a significant impact on U.S. manufacturing, placing well-paying jobs across the nation. 80,000 people are employed, with over 550 different companies; this is a testament to the industry's commitment and investment in our nation. The report will analyze the benefits of wind, the related costs and costs associated with a large scale deployment, including quantification of carbon emissions reduction, water savings, and jobs across the nation.

Four topics pop up: Wind Energy Deployment, Technology Evolution, Manufacturing and Jobs, and Renewable Energy Futures Study. "Renewable Energy Futures Study" opens.

A map of the United States appears, showing the results from the Renewable Energy Futures Study report.

We need to also create a new Wind Vision report that takes into account the future and the role that wind energy will have in a new energy picture. Last year the National Renewable Energy Laboratory published a report titled "The Renewable Energy Futures Study," which studied the year 2050 and the possibility of 80% of our electricity coming from renewable energy sources. It is important to understand the results of this report as we must appreciate the contributions that wind will have in such an energy picture.

The original spinning globe appears. The words "A New Wind Vision" reappear and then slowly vanish off the screen.

A final slide appears, reading:

Be a Part of the U.S. Wind Vision!
Learn more about the Wind Vision by visiting our website or get involved by leaving a comment on our OpenEI community forum.

We intend that the new vision will be a shared vision resulting in a roadmap that will rely on all stakeholders: industry, NGOs, academia, and government, and identify the contributions that each must make.

In May 2013, we formally announced that DOE in conjunction with the American Wind Energy Association and the Wind Energy Foundation, and with participation from academia, industry, OEMs, federal agencies, and non-government organizations is doing to lead the "A New Wind Vision" report, and address this upcoming set of challenges and opportunities.

The Department of Energy's Wind Program is excited to come together with the industry to not only show our commitment, but to play an instrumental role in developing a pathway for the wind industry. We need all of your participation, your thoughts, your leadership, and your contributions, both to inform the creation of this vision but also to help carry it out in the future while we build a clean energy economy for the United States. For more information, visit our website at, or you can leave your comments on our OpenEI forum at Thank you.