When the wind blows past a wind turbine, its blades capture the wind’s kinetic energy and rotate, turning it into mechanical energy. This rotation turns an internal shaft connected to a gearbox, which increases the speed of rotation by a factor of 100. That spins a generator that produces electricity. Wind power is a sustainable and renewable energy.
Wind farms consist of many individual wind turbines, which are connected to the grid. Onshore wind is an inexpensive source of electric power, competitive with or in many places cheaper than coal or gas plants. Offshore wind is steadier and stronger than on land and offshore farms have less visual impact, but construction and maintenance costs are higher. Utility battery storage can now play a major role in solving the intermittency issue with some renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
From January through December of 2019, 300.1 terawatt-hours were generated by wind power, or 7.29% of all generated electrical energy in the United States. As of January 2020, total installed wind power capacity in the United States was 105,583 megawatts (MW). This capacity is exceeded only by China and the European Union.Thus far, wind power's largest growth in capacity was in 2012, when 11,895 MW of wind power was installed, representing 26.5% of new power capacity.
By September of 2019, 19 states had over 1,000 MW of installed capacity with 5 states (Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and California) generating over half of all wind energy in the nation. Texas, with 28,843 MW of capacity, about 16.8% of the state's electricity usage, had the most installed wind power capacity of any U.S. state at the end of 2019.