[Washington Post] [The two reports] suggest that wind is being installed at a rapid rate, that its costs are plummeting, that its technologies are advancing, and that it is creating a growing number of jobs to boot.
Wind energy in the U.S. is now at 66 gigawatts of installed capacity, according to the report — providing roughly 5 percent of total U.S. electricity demand. 66 gigawatts is enough electricity to power 17.5 million homes (a gigawatt is a billion watts). And, says Jose Zayas, who heads the wind and water power technologies office at the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, 13 more gigawatts are now “in the construction phase” and set to come online by 2016.
For reference, in 2012, the U.S. had 1063 gigawatts of total installed electricity capacity, according to the Energy Information Administration…
A second Energy Department report being released Monday, by the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, focuses on the distributed wind energy market — which, the report says, has now nearly reached a single gigawatt of installed capacity.
Distributed wind, like distributed solar, refers to wind energy — typically just one or two turbines — installed by private individuals or companies to allow them to generate a portion of the electricity they need onsite, rather than having to buy it from a utility company.