Utility-Scale Wind Energy

photo of a utility-scale wind turbine

Wind is an important source of affordable, renewable energy, supplying 8% of electric generation capacity for the United States in 2016, more than any other renewable technology (including hydroelectricity).

Utility-scale turbines are usually defined as turbines that exceed 100 kilowatts in size. Utility-scale wind turbines are typically installed in large, multi-turbine wind farms connected to the nation's transmission system. More information is available on the Energy Department's wind energy research portfolio.

Chart showing the potential wind velocity with taller towers.

Land-Based Wind

There are more than 52,000 land-based wind turbines operating across 41 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. These turbines represent nearly 84 gigawatts of energy capacity. Turbines installed today typically average almost 2 MW in size and are predicted to scale up in the coming years.

Offshore Wind

Global offshore wind capacity reached 14.4 gigawatts by the end of 2016; the United States added to the offshore wind capacity in November 2016, when developers finished construction on the 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island. Several other offshore projects in the United States are advancing through the development process.

More Information on Utility-Scale Wind

These resources provide additional information about utility-scale wind.

Wind Vision

This report describes the potential development of wind energy through 2050 and provides an overview of the current wind market, expected impacts if 35% of the nation's electric generation comes from wind power, and a proposed outline of activities that will be required to make the vision a reality.

Enabling Wind Power Nationwide

This report describes the impact of the changes in wind turbine technology, mostly through the use of taller towers and larger wind turbine blades. Technological advancements have expanded areas in which wind can be economically developed and enabled every state in the nation to have utility-scale wind potential.

Annual Wind Technologies Market Report

This yearly report describes the status of the U.S. wind energy industry, including trends, performance, market drivers, and future outlook.

Maps & Data