The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and consulting firm AWS Truewind, LLC have developed new wind resource maps and wind potential tables for the United States, the first comprehensive update of wind energy potential since 1993. The analysis indicates that wind resources in the U.S. are greater than previous estimates, up to three times more than previous estimates with the potential to generate up to 37 million gigawatt hours annually.
Accurate information about the wind resource and the wind energy potential in each state is required for federal and state policy initiatives that will expand the use of wind energy in the United States. For planning installations of wind turbines and development of wind farms, it's important to know if the wind resource for a location is adequate. From wind resource maps, it can be determined if an area of interest should be further explored.
Areas with annual average wind speeds around 6.5 m/s and greater at 80-m height are generally considered to have suitable wind resource for wind development. NREL has conducted a preliminary review and validation of the AWS Truewind's 80-m map estimates for 19 selected states (6 Western states, 6 Midwestern states, and 7 Eastern states) based on tower measurements at heights of about 50 m and above from more than 300 locations.
Wind potential tables, graphs, and maps are available for the contiguous United States and for each state. NREL also produced graphs showing the wind resource potential above a given gross capacity factor at both 80-m and 100-m heights.