20% of wind energy can meet US power demand within a decade

According to Cornell University, with the same land, the US could produce 20% of its power from the wind for ten years. “Currently, the US generates 7% of its power from wind energy,” Professor Sara Pryor said -Department of Earth and the Atmospheric Sciences. “The study indicates that with the installed capacity of wind turbines since 2014 will enable us to achieve the objective of 20% of power from the wind, without additional land or negative outcomes from the local climates.”

They termed it as the “20% Wind Scenario,” the NREL research showed that producing the 20% of the power from wind could help to get rid of 825 million metric tons emissions of carbon dioxide in electrical energy sector in the year 2030.

The report noted that in 2016-2017, the power generated from wind increased by 12% leading to 254 terawatt-hours in the US. It then grew in 2018 by 8.3% up to 275 terawatt-hours. The research indicated that the US consumes 310-320 terawatt-hours of power each month, which is produced from natural gas, coal, and renewable energy power plants as well as nuclear.

“Wind power is helping to decarbonize the global energy system,” said Professor Pryor. “Wind turbines are ideal in eliminating carbon emissions and providing almost 30 years of carbon-free electricity production,” he added.

In high-density arrangements of enormous wind turbines, the researchers assessed possible downturns in system-wide efficiency that is associated with the phenomenon known as “wind turbine wakes,” where the speed of the wind is decelerated by the extraction of the momentum by wind turbines. The wake is eroded by combining with undisturbed air from the atmosphere but can decrease the speed of the wind that influences on downstream wind turbines.

Professor Pryor partnered with Rebecca Barthelmie who was the professor in Sibley School of the Mechanical as well as Aerospace Engineering, and the postdoctoral researcher by the name Tristan Shepherd to come up with scenarios on how wind energy can enlarge from the present levels to 1/5 of the total US power supply by 2030. This is outlined by US Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) in 2008.

“‘Stealing’ of the wind by the upstream wind turbines decreases the total electricity generated by the entire ensemble of the wind turbines, and turbulence can change local climate conditions that are near to wind turbines,” said Professor Rebecca Barthelmie.

The research came up with the conclusion that the US has the potential to generate 20% of its power from wind energy without more land required.