The U.S. boasts 48,611 Megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity as of March 2012.
The capacity of the U.S. wind fleet could provide enough electricity to supply 10 million American homes.
The key word in these facts: capacity. However, the wind doesn’t always blow and these giant turbines rarely, if ever, hit their maximum potential or capacity.
So while the American Wind Energy Association states “on‐shore American wind resource could electrify the nation nearly 10 times over” it is correct. It could; but it doesn’t and it never will.
Renewable energy sources never reach their full capacity. Wind energy is expensive; not always productive and requires backup power generators, like power plants, to make up for its lost capacity.
Case in point: Germany. The country is far ahead of all others in its use of and dependence on renewable energy. In fact, other countries, including America, put Germany on a pedestal for its bold leap into renewables. Germany’s wind capacity covers a quarter of its average electricity demand, about 29,000 MW. Yet, actually output is only around 5,000 MW — far from what is needed to cover demand.