Wind power represents a critical component of the strategies to reduce air and water pollution and to combat the effects of global climate change. Further, the development of wind farms promises to provide jobs and income to farmers and rural economies throughout the nation. This survey covers the history of the U.S. wind industry: how it works, its geography, and its impact on the environment. A collaborative panel—including members of the U.S. Department of Energy—explored a modeled energy scenario in which wind would provide 20 percent of the nation's electricity by 2030. This official 2008 report by the panel estimates impacts and discusses specific needs and outcomes in the areas of technology, manufacturing, transmission and grid integration, markets, siting strategies, and potential environmental effects.
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