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Wind Energy in the United States

2021 wind energy numbers

Wind energy plays a critical role in national climate targets established in 2021. These include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% from 2005 levels by 2030, achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035, and reaching net-zero emissions economywide by no later than 2050

Five U.S. states updated or adopted new clean energy standards in 2021; 31 states and the District of Columbia already had such standards in place.

Wind power capacity in the United States continued to grow in 2021, adding nearly 14 gigawatts (GW). As the United States’ top source of renewable energy production, wind power facilities accounted for 9.2% of electricity generation in 2021. As of the end of 2021, the United States had 135 GW of electricity generation capacity from wind turbines. The nation’s largest operating wind project, the 1,055-megawatt (MW) Western Spirit in New Mexico, came online in 2021, and construction began on Vineyard Wind, the nation’s first commercial-scale offshore wind power plant.

To learn more about wind energy in the United States, please review the U.S. chapter in the IEA Wind TCP 2020 Annual Report.

Photo by Dennis Schroeder, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)


Growth Rate

Total wind power capacity is 135 GW.


Wind power capacity in the United States continued to grow in 2021, adding nearly 14 GW.

National Electricity Demand

In 2021, wind reached 9.2% of U.S. electricity generation

Targets and Policy

To support national clean energy goals, the Biden administration established a new target to deploy 30 GW of offshore wind power capacity by 2030. At the end of 2021, the United States had deployed 42 MW. Meeting the target will spur more than 12 billion USD (10.5 billion EUR) per year in capital investments and up to 500 million USD (440 million EUR) in port upgrades. The new offshore wind energy target supports the national clean energy goals mentioned earlier. National research goals, detailed in the R, D&D Activities section, aim to reduce the levelized cost of energy (LCOE) for offshore wind, land-based wind, and distributed wind energy by 2030.

The U.S. production tax credit, which provides a per-kilowatt-hour credit for electricity generated by eligible renewable sources, continued to drive a high number of capacity additions in 2021. The credit expired December 31, 2021, and applies to wind projects that began construction before that date. In addition, land-based wind energy projects that began construction in 2016 and 2017 remained eligible for the alternative Investment Tax Credit that provides a credit for up to 30% of investment costs at the start of the project. Offshore wind energy projects that begin construction by December 31, 2025, are eligible for a 30% Investment Tax Credit.

Progress & Operational Details

The U.S. land-based wind energy market installed nearly 14 GW of capacity in 2021. The leading states for land-based wind power projects in development at the end of 2021 were Texas (6,145 MW), Wyoming (3,000 MW), Illinois (just over 2,100 MW), and Oklahoma (1,748 MW). For offshore wind power, New York leads development on a capacity basis at 4,186 MW, followed by New Jersey with 3,758 MW, Massachusetts with 3,242 MW, and Virginia with 2,587 MW.

Wind power projects account for a significant portion of the clean energy currently under construction in the United States, with land-based wind accounting for 20% and offshore wind accounting for an additional 15%. The remaining projects are solar energy and battery storage.

On a per-project basis, wind facilities are growing in size. Of the land-based wind projects currently operating, 39% have between 100 and 200 MW of capacity. Most projects now in development—more than 70%—are set to have more than 200 MW of capacity. A survey of wind energy experts published in 2021 found expected costs to be 50% lower by 2050 than predicted in 2015.

General Electric wind turbines were the most commonly installed in 2021, making up half of the new land-based capacity. Vestas ranked second with 28% of new installations, followed by Nordex (12%) and Siemens Gamesa (10%).

National RDD Priorities and Budget

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) funds a diverse portfolio of wind energy R&D to advance offshore, land-based, and distributed wind energy. Congress directed DOE to allocate 110 million USD (96.7 million EUR) in funds for wind energy research. This was an increase of 6 million USD (5.3 million EUR) over 2020 funding.

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Vice chair/Member Jim Ahlgrimm

Vice Chair /Alternate Member Brian Smith