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Revealing the Real Onshore Potential: A Socio-Technical Wind Atlas for the U.S.
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  • Anna-Katharina von Krauland,
  • Mark Jacobson,
  • Peter Enevoldsen,
  • Finn-Hendrik Permien
Anna-Katharina von Krauland
Stanford University

Corresponding Author:krauland@stanford.edu

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Mark Jacobson
Stanford University
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Peter Enevoldsen
Aarhus University
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Finn-Hendrik Permien
Siemens Gamesa
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For the first time, we have developed a wind atlas to determine the onshore wind power potential of each U.S. state. Previously, Geographical Information System (GIS)-based wind atlases have been developed that include multiple parameters for identifying sites suitable for wind energy development. Such atlases contain data and exclusions for houses, roads, and protected areas. They also include restrictions for sensitive military and political land areas, terrain not suitable for wind power generation, national parks, and nature preserves. However, such atlases have yet to be developed for the U.S. or its individual states. The purpose of this study is to create a wind atlas to calculate the onshore wind power potential of each U.S. state, accounting thoroughly for exclusions. We also develop a GIS portal that can be used by stakeholders in the wind industry to plan future wind project developments and to reduce the uncertainty and risks in the early stage of site hunting. To accomplish these goals, we use Envision Energy’s EnScope wind atlas tool. The tool accounts for Wind Resources Restrictions (social, environmental, and technical characteristics that can delay, impede, or stop wind power projects) Regulations (national and regional distance requirements to infrastructure, buildings, and protected areas) Wind Turbine Information (dimensions, footprint, and energy output of a modern onshore wind turbine) With the resulting atlas, we determine the maximum available land for developing wind energy in the U.S., the total wind energy potential in the U.S., and an indication of how that potential compares with what is needed to power the entire U.S. with wind’s share of a 100% clean, renewable energy system for all energy purposes in 2050.