Wind Power’s Sweet Spot: U.S. Heartland

Not surprisingly, the highest concentration of wind turbines in the United States is in Dorthy and Toto’s neck of the woods. The Great Plains states, including Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, North Dakota, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas and Wyoming are home to the majority of the nation’s wind power.

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), these states boast the best conditions for onshore wind energy. Wind maps dating back to the 1970s have helped scientists determine accurate wind patterns, but most recently, sophisticated computer models have taken over the job of finding the most suitable locale for wind turbines.

 

Great Plains wind power

image via Shutterstock

That’s not to say that the rest of the country is devoid of wind turbines. Wind capacity exsists in other areas of the nation, and many states have started offering incentives for renewables and energy efficiency. Large clusters of wind turbines can be found in Washington State as well as Northern California and the northernmost reaches of the United States, in Maine.

U.S. wind power map

image via U.S. Department of Energy

One area in which wind turbines are virtually nonexistent is in the Southeast portion of the nation. Low average wind speeds and a lack of wind-focused state incentive programs has been blamed for the void. In 2010, the United States had 38 gigawatts of installed wind power capacity, which contributed to 2.3 percent of the nations electricity.

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Kristy Hessman is a writer and native Oregonian who currently resides in California. Before starting her own company, she worked as a reporter covering business and politics for daily newspapers and The Associated Press.