Skip to Main Content
From the birth of modern electricity-generating wind turbines in the late 1970s to now, wind energy technology has dramatically improved. Capital costs have plummeted, reliability has improved, and efficiency has increased. High-quality turbine manufacturers exist around the world, and wind plants of 300 MW and larger are being integrated into the electrical grid to exacting utility specifications. These modern wind plants are now routinely produced by multinational manufacturing companies at a cost of energy approaching, and in some cases below, that of fossil-fuel generating plants. At the end of 2006, the total U.S. wind energy capacity had grown to 11,603 MW, or enough to provide the electrical energy needs of more than 2.9 million American homes. Wind capacity in the United States and in Europe has grown at a rate of 20% to 30% per year over the past decade. Despite this rapid growth, wind currently provides less than 1% of total electricity consumption in the United States. The vision of the wind industry in the United States and in Europe is to increase wind's fraction of the electrical energy mix to more than 20% within the next two decades.