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Wind energy had a ‘banner year’ in 2020. Right here is what that means for Joe Biden’s climate plan.

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Wind energy had a ‘banner year’ in 2020. Right here is what that means for Joe Biden’s climate plan.

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Texas’ pace to becoming a wind powerhouse can be a map for the many U.S. states that have substantial wind resources.

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USA TODAY

The wind energy sector in the U.S. blew away records in 2020. 

A peek from the American Clean Energy Association released this month experiences that 2020 was a file year for the industry, with developers adding adequate megawatts of capacity to present energy for millions of properties and inching the U.S. closer to the Biden administration’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2035.

In all, 16,913 megawatts of latest wind energy capacity was installed in the U.S. last year – an 85% increase over 2019. That’s the equivalent of the energy generated from 11 large coal plants, and adequate to assist nearly 6 million properties, Jonathan Naughton, a professor of mechanical engineering and director of the Wind Energy Research Center at the College of Wyoming, informed USA TODAY.

Texas hosted the most activity with 13% of energy output, followed by Wyoming (10%), Oklahoma (7%), Kansas (5%) and Novel Mexico (4%).

“2020 was a banner year for the wind industry,” Heather Zichal, president/CEO of American Clean Energy, formerly the American Wind Energy Association, said in a statement. “Despite all the challenges COVID-19 placed on our businesses, we peaceful shattered nearly each file for capacity and growth.”

Right here is how states stack up, and how the industry’s unusual capacity figures into the nation’s goal for carbon neutrality. 

Texas: Wind energy ‘driving significant financial growth’

Wind energy produced up to two thirds of Texas’s energy output in 2020, according to the Energy Information Administration. In total, the Lone Star State generated about 29,407 MWs of wind energy, installing 2,197 MWs in 2020 – meaning that if Texas were a nation, it may perhaps rank fifth in the area for wind energy capacity, some estimates say.

“Texas is the #1 energy individual in the nation. Our economy and continued growth are depending on reliable energy, and how we meet this massive demand has large implications,” Powering Texas writes on its internet page. “Renewable energy is helping Texas meet this growing demand for energy, while also providing jobs, bolstering rural economies and supporting communities all across the state.”

Why is Texas such a windy state? It sits moral in the wind belt, a swath of land blessed with an fair wind useful resource. The wind useful resource continues straight up the middle of the nation to Canada and includes Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and the Dakotas. There is also significant wind in parts of Minnesota, Iowa, Wyoming and Montana. 

It also has less restrictive zoning, taxation methods that encourage building and sturdy transmission lines that collectively have allowed it to leap ahead of the relaxation. 

Wyoming: An improving political climate for wind energy?

Wyoming is an interesting place for wind energy – or now now not it is the No. 1 producer for coal in the nation, said Naughton.

“Wind energy is always looked at as a threat to the coal industry,” he said. 

But in 2020, the state nearly doubled its wind capacity for energy, adding nearly 900 MWs over the past year. That signals to Naughton that the political climate for wind energy is improving in the Cowboy State.

Biden’s climate crusade:  How his plan to reduce carbon emissions, create jobs may perhaps impact U.S.

“Other folks are understanding that wind is at risk of assemble here and it produces some jobs and some tax cash, and it does some moral things,” he said.

Part of that is because of a tax on wind energy, which brings in about $4.2 million a year, reported the Casper Star-Tribune. 

But Naughton and other energy experts cautioned that of us shouldn’t take the burst in Wyoming’s wind pattern as a pattern from year to year. The Industrial Siting Council, the regulatory board charged with reviewing astronomical wind undertaking applications in the state, hasn’t acquired a unusual proposal for a wind undertaking since 2019, the Star-Tribune reported.

How shut is US to carbon neutrality?

Despite the wind energy industry’s gains in 2020, the U.S. remains far from carbon neutrality by 2035, a main goal in the Biden administration’s climate plan.

“We’re in the single digits peaceful. But we’re in the high single digits,” Naughton said. Compared to 2000, when the U.S. was stuck in the sub-single digits, he added, “Now we have arrive an amazing way.”

Aloof, Naughton said the U.S. would must accelerate its pace of installation to achieve President Joe Biden’s goal, which he described as doable with a recommitment to offshore wind energy farms and to those areas impacted by the lack of former energy outputs.

“We have a coverage push to pause it. And we also have an financial push to pause it. So the pieces are in place,” he said.  “Now we have lawful acquired to make obvious it actually happens.”

Contributing: Elizabeth Weise and Rick Jervis, USA TODAY

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Wind energy had a ‘banner year’ in 2020. Right here is what that means for Joe Biden’s climate plan.