Committed to the continued growth of wind energy
Markets

By the end of 2013, there were more than 12,000 MW of new generating capacity under construction, more than ever in history. A record-breaking 10,900 MW of construction activity began during the fourth quarter.

More current statistics are available in the U.S. Wind Industry 2013 Market Reports. You can access AWEA's U.S. wind industry market reports from 2009 to the present here.

Transmission
Some of the best wind resources in the country are located in areas remote from the largest load centers and markets for electricity. By expanding and upgrading transmission systems, the nation could better access wind energy, which could be more easily moved from distant areas to population centers where electricity demand is greatest. Also, by facilitating the expansion and geographical dispersion of wind power across a wide area, an upgraded transmission grid improves the reliability of wind. When wind output is slowing at one location, it is usually increasing somewhere else. Thus, dispersed wind power compensates for short-term fluctuations.

Aside from leveraging our wind resources, there are a number of other reasons why America needs to invest in its power grid. A congested and obsolete power grid limits consumers’ access to lower-cost power. It is also inefficient and prone to blackouts. These factors alone cost American consumers tens of billions of dollars per year in elevated electric rates and lost productivity.

The U.S. Department of Energy has also identified transmission limitations as the largest obstacle to realizing the economic, environmental, and energy security benefits of obtaining 20% of our electricity from wind power. Wind power projects totaling 127,071 MW were in the interconnection queue at the end of 2012, waiting to connect to the electricity transmission system because there is not enough transmission capacity to carry the electricity they would produce.

More Information
Transmission is a large topic area. The National Wind Coordinating Collaborative publishes reports and case studies related to transmission and maintains a comprehensive research section on the NWCC website.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory maintains a Transmission Grid Integration website that includes publications, data and resources, and FAQs.

During 2011, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act supported a groundbreaking study that identifies the challenges associated with increasing variable generation. The U.S. Department of Energy recently published a report, Strategies and Decision Support Systems for Integrating Variable Energy Resources in Control Centers for Reliable Grid Operations: Global Practices, Examples of Excellence and Lessons Learned (PDF 6.56 MB), that discusses the study's findings regarding wind energy grid integration. The report provides utilities with recommendations and examples of success stories aimed at informing the design of decision-support tools, solutions, and strategies for integrating more wind energy into power systems. An executive summary (PDF 439 KB) of the report is also available.