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New DOE maps show wind energy potential in U.S.

The Department of Energy’s Wind Powering America program has released new maps of wind energy potential in the U.S. The maps, the first new ones in 19 years, are meant to serve as a resource for policymakers, state and local governments and anyone looking to invest in wind power sites or anyone trying to determine the best potential locations.

The maps are based on data gathered in 2010 and show average annual wind speeds at a height of 80 meters above the ground. Some of the information is fairly well know, such as the fact that the best states for wind energy are found along the north central tier of the country, the Great Plains, and in states farther south, such as Oklahoma and Texas.

The maps are so detailed show that they show several localized areas of wind energy potential in most parts of the country.

Additional map information and spreadsheets show “the potential megawatts (MW) of rated capacity that could be installed on the available windy land area, and the estimated annual wind energy generation in gigawatt-hours (GWh) that could be produced from the installed capacity,” the Energy Department said.

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The national map can be found here. Just click on the region you’re interested in to bring up  individual state maps.

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