Land Use and Turbine Technology Influences on Wind Potential in the United States

Anthony Lopez, Trieu Mai, Eric Lantz, Dylan Harrison-Atlas, Travis Williams, Galen Maclaurin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus Citations

Abstract

As clean energy ambitions have expanded, critically evaluating renewable energy supply has become increasingly important to the energy research community and stakeholders. This study examines the onshore wind resource potential for the conterminous United States and its sensitivity to siting constraints and turbine technology innovation. We compile localized regulatory information and use high-resolution data to present multiple siting regimes covering relatively constrained to unconstrained potentials. Our efforts reveal high sensitivity to these variables and sizable uncertainty in the overall wind energy resource potential. Specifically, we find that siting constraints may shift the total capacity available to commercial wind energy by 2.3–15.1 TW. Furthermore, our results illustrate that technology advancement could require larger setbacks from buildings and infrastructure, reducing the total available capacity potential by 20% relative to estimates using current technology, but that this reduction is largely offset by increased generation such that the net effect on generation is 1%. The observed sensitivity to and uncertainty resulting from the variables we analyze suggest there is value in continued study and development of increasingly sophisticated approaches to characterizing wind resource potential.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number120044
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy
Volume223
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Ltd

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-77473

Keywords

  • Geospatial modeling
  • Land use
  • Resource potential
  • Siting
  • Wind energy

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