Wind Energy Resource Potential
States has enough wind resources to generate electricity for every
home and business in the nation. But not all areas are suitable
for wind energy development. The Wind Energy Program measures
the potential wind energy resources of areas across the United
States in order to identify ideal areas for project development.
on the program's mapping activities and individual state maps,
visit the Wind
Powering America Web site.
Resource Potential and Wind Energy Projects
One of the
first steps to developing a wind energy project is to assess the
area's wind resources and estimate the available energy. Correct
estimation of the energy available in the wind can make or break
the economics of a project.
To help the
wind industry identify the areas best suited for development,
the Wind Energy Program works with the National Renewable Energy
Laboratory (NREL) and other organizations to measure, characterize,
and map wind resources 50 meters (m) to 100 m above ground.
This map shows
the annual average wind power estimates at 50 m above ground.
It combines high and low resolution datasets that have been screened
to eliminate land-based areas unlikely to be developed due to
land use or environmental issues. In many states, the wind resource
has been visually enhanced to better show the distribution on
ridge crests and other features.
of the wind resource are expressed in wind power classes ranging
from Class 1 to Class 7, with each class representing a range
of mean wind power density or equivalent mean speed at specified
heights above the ground. This map does not show Classes 1 and
2 as Class 2 areas are marginal and Class 1 areas are unsuitable
for utility-scale wind energy development.