In 2017, four US states generated more than 30% of their electricity from wind

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Enlarge / Wind turbines on private working ranch land on August 1, 2017 near Kevin, Montana. (credit: Getty Images / William Campbell-Corbis)

made bizarre and wandering remarks about “windmills” being an inferior source of energy, the Department of Energy (DoE) released the 2017 Wind Technology Report (PDF), showing that wind energy had an extremely successful year.

In four states—Iowa, Oklahoma, Kansas, and South Dakota—wind contributed 30 to 37 percent of each state’s entire electricity generation. These are fairly unique cases, because the states are sparsely populated and benefit from areas with high wind speeds. But the fraction of wind-generated electricity is growing in many other states, too. Fourteen states had more than 10 percent of their energy come from wind. On a wider scale, wind contributed just 6.3 percent of national generation, although that’s up from 5.7 percent in 2016.

Still, the US is behind a number of countries in how much wind power meets electricity demand. The DOE writes that “wind power capacity is estimated to supply the equivalent of 48 percent of Denmark’s electricity demand, and roughly 30 percent of demand in Ireland and in Portugal.” This year, Portugal had several days in March where renewable energy supply exceeded electricity demand.

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