Utility-Scale Wind Energy

photo of a utility-scale wind turbine

Wind is an important source of affordable, renewable energy, contributing 6.5% of the nation's electricity supply in 2018. With 7,588 megawatts (MW) of new capacity added and $11 billion invested, wind power represented the third-largest source of U.S. electric-generating capacity additions in 2018, behind solar and natural gas.

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 56,000 land-based wind turbines operating across 41 states, Guam, and Puerto Rico. These turbines represent more than 97 gigawatts of energy capacity. To optimize wind project cost and performance, turbines continue to grow in size. The average rated (nameplate) capacity of newly installed wind turbines in the United States in 2018 was 2.43 MW, up 5% from the previous year.

Offshore Wind

Offshore wind energy is a burgeoning industry in the United States. America's first offshore wind farm—located in Rhode Island, off the coast of Block Island—powered up on December 12, 2016. The U.S. offshore wind project pipeline has reached a total of 25,824 megawatts of capacity, including the 30-MW Block Island Wind Farm.

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 Reports

These annual reports describe the status of the U.S. wind energy industry, including trends, performance, market drivers, and future outlook.

Maps & Data