This is the eleventh and final post in a blog series discussing state-by-state highlights of wind energy throughout the South in the lead up to the WINDPOWER Expo in Orlando, FL, May 18 – 21. See the rest of the series here.
New wind turbine technology is a game changer for clean energy opportunities in Kentucky. Taller turbines and longer blades are capable of capturing more wind, which results in generating more electricity and reducing costs. In just five years, wind turbines have greatly evolved and are now more suitable for the Southeast. One modern wind turbine can now power the equivalent of about 600 homes a year!
New wind speed maps released by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) demonstrate the greatly increased potential for wind turbine development in Kentucky with advanced turbines. As wind turbines increase in height and are able to access better wind speeds, more areas become attractive for wind energy development within Kentucky. The shading on the map above represents new available land for wind development with modern turbines with towers of 360 feet (110 meters) achieving a 35% capacity factor or greater. With these new wind turbines, over 76,000 megawatts (MW) of land-based wind potential currently exist in Kentucky. Developing just one gigawatt of wind energy capacity (1,000 MW) in Kentucky (just 1.3% of Kentucky’s potential) could power more than 255,500 homes a year!
Based on the Jobs and Economic Development Index model, developed by NREL, developing one gigawatt worth of wind energy capacity in Kentucky could support approximately 4,200 direct, indirect and induced jobs during construction, as well as approximately 127 ongoing operation jobs with a total annual payroll of $6.2 million. Several wind farm development companies have already been active in Kentucky.
Kentucky is currently home to at least nine wind energy-related manufacturing facilities serving the domestic and international wind industry markets. In 2013, there were up to 100 direct and indirect jobs provided by the wind industry in Kentucky. Developing land-based wind in the state could greatly add to local economic benefits and create more wind energy-related jobs. A few of the wind energy-related manufacturing facilities in Kentucky include:
- Wind Turbine Personnel Hoist (Louisville, Kentucky) – This company provides elevators and hoists to parts and service for the wind industry.
- World Tower Company (Mayfield, Kentucky) – This company manufactures towers for transmission structures, as well as meteorological towers for wind farm development.
The Southeastern Wind Coalition has published wind energy fact sheets on this state and others from around the Southeast. You can access those fact sheets here.
As the Southeast becomes a new frontier for wind energy, it is only fitting that the largest wind energy conference of the year will be in Orlando, Florida. Join us in Orlando, May 18-21, 2015 for the American Wind Energy Association’s (AWEA) annual WINDPOWER Conference & Exhibition. Each year, the event draws thousands of attendees and hundreds of exhibitors all looking to advance the wind industry. WINDPOWER features over 30 sessions ranging from market and policy analysis, to project performance and technical advancements in wind energy. It’s an excellent way to connect with subject matter experts–anyone interested in the wind industry should plan on attending. As a benefit to you for reading our blog, you can use this discount code to receive $50 off the full registration: SPKWP50.
We hope you can join us in Orlando to learn more about wind energy opportunities for Kentucky and the entire Southeast! You can register here.