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Wind power is capable of becoming a major contributor to America's electricity supply over the next three decades, according to "20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply," a study released by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Included in the report is an examination of America's technological and manufacturing capabilities, U.S. wind energy resources and the environmental and economic impacts of wind development. Under the 20% wind scenario, installations of new wind power capacity would increase to more than 16,000 MW per year by 2018, and continue at that rate through 2030.

"The report identifies the central constraints to achieving 20 percent - transmission, siting, manufacturing and technology - and demonstrates how each can be overcome," says Randall Swisher, executive director of the American Wind Energy Association. "As an inexhaustible domestic resource, wind strengthens our energy security, improves the quality of the air we breathe, slows climate change, and revitalizes rural communities."

The report finds that achieving a 20% wind contribution to the U.S. electricity supply would:

- reduce carbon dioxide emissions from electricity generation by 25% in 2030,

- reduce natural gas use by 11%,

- reduce water consumption associated with electricity generation by 4 trillion gallons by 2030,

- increase annual revenues to local communities to more than $1.5 billion by 2030, and

- support roughly 500,000 jobs in the U.S., with an average of more than 150,000 workers directly employed by the wind industry.

According to Suedeen Kelly, commissioner of Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, the 20% scenario would cost 2% more than the cost of the baseline scenario without wind.

For the full report, visit 20percentwind.org

SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association

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