The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Wind Energy Technologies Office (WETO) invests in energy science research and development (R&D) activities that enable the innovations needed to advance U.S. wind systems, while continuing to address market and deployment barriers, including siting and environmental impacts. WETO is dedicated to driving down the cost of wind energy with more efficient, more reliable, and more predictable wind energy systems.
WETO, in close cooperation with the wind industry and other stakeholders, released a new report that looks at the future of wind power through 2050 and the economic and domestic benefits that come with a robust wind industry. The report, Wind Vision: A New Era for Wind Power in the United States, confirms that with technological advancements driving projected cost reductions, in combination with continued siting and transmission development, wind energy can provide cost-effective electricity across the United States.
What We Do
WETO's research and development activities are aimed at improving performance, lowering costs, and reducing market barriers for U.S. wind energy. The Office works with national laboratories, industry, universities, and other agencies to conduct R&D activities through competitively selected, directly funded, and cost-shared projects. Our efforts target both land-based and offshore wind power at the utility scale as well as systems on the distribution side, and focus on novel research not being undertaken by the U.S. wind industry due to perceived cost, risk, or focus on near-term investment returns.
Wind Energy Technologies Office Accomplishments
The U.S. Department of Energy Wind Energy Technologies Office is committed to helping the nation secure affordable sources of renewable energy through the development and deployment of innovative wind power technologies. Read more about the Office's accomplishments.
Why It Matters
Using the nation's abundant wind resources for electric power generation helps the nation increase its competitiveness, diversify its energy supply, increase energy security and independence, reduce emissions of air pollutants, save water that would otherwise be used by thermal power generation, and provide affordable electricity across the country. In addition, wind energy deployment helps stimulate the revitalization of key sectors of the economy by investing in infrastructure and creating long-term skilled jobs.
Wind energy currently supports more than 100,000 U.S. jobs, and wind turbine technician is one of the nation’s fastest-growing occupations. According to industry experts, the U.S. wind industry is expected to drive over $85 billion in economic activity from 2017 to 2020, and wind-related employment is expected to reach 248,000 jobs in all 50 states by 2020.
Enabling U.S. Industry Growth and U.S. Competitiveness
WETO is committed to helping the nation secure affordable, unsubsidized wind energy and enhance U.S. competitiveness in the global wind market through energy science R&D activities that enable technology innovation and market barrier mitigation. WETO invests in improvements to wind plant design, technology development and operation, as well as developing tools to identify the highest quality wind resources. The United States can remain a leading global market for wind energy due to its vast domestic resources, low cost, and highly skilled workforce.
Securing U.S. Security and Independence
U.S. wind energy provides energy security and energy independence at local, state, and national levels through more choices for stable, reliable, and cost-effective domestic energy. Because the electricity from wind farms is sold at a fixed price over a long period of time (e.g. 20 years) and its fuel is free and inexhaustible, wind energy mitigates the price uncertainty that fuel costs add to traditional sources of energy. By leveraging their land-based, offshore, and distributed wind resources, states can hedge against fuel price volatility and improve grid infrastructure security.
Strengthening Domestic Manufacturing and Providing Local Economic Value Across the United States
WETO is contributing to the nation's role as a leader in renewable energy technology development by promoting domestic manufacturing of wind power technologies. The U.S. has the opportunity to expand infrastructure, grow domestic manufacturing, create skilled jobs, and revitalize rural America. U.S. wind reduces energy costs to consumers, reduces health care costs through cleaner air, and increases income through local tax revenues and land lease payments.
Harnessing Energy Where Our Nation Needs It Most
Wind energy presents a unique opportunity to harness energy in areas where our country's populations need it most. This includes offshore wind's potential to provide power to population centers near coastlines, and land-based wind's ability to deliver electricity to rural communities and islands with few other local sources of power. By working to deploy wind power in new areas on land and at sea and ensuring the stable, secure integration of this power to our nation's electrical grid, WETO contributes to the delivery of reliable, cost-effective energy throughout the nation.
In addition to its partnerships with industry and academia, the Wind Energy Technologies Office funds research and development activities at the following national laboratories:
- Argonne National Laboratory
- Idaho National Laboratory
- Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
- Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory
- Oak Ridge National Laboratory
- Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
- Sandia National Laboratories
For detailed information on wind R&D projects at the national laboratories, see our Projects Map and select Recipient Organization Type: National Laboratory.