On Wednesday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the “Wind Energy Research and Development Act of 2009 (H.R. 3165).” If enacted, the bill would authorize a comprehensive program to improve the efficiency, reliability and cost effectiveness of domestic wind energy systems. The bill was sponsored by Rep. Paul Tonko (D-NY 21) and passed with bipartisan support in a voice vote.
The bill, which authorizes $200 million dollars per year from 2010-2014, requires the Secretary of Energy to carry out a program of research and development to improve the energy efficiency, reliability, and capacity of wind turbines, optimize the design and adaptability of wind energy systems, and reduce the cost of construction, generation, and maintenance of wind energy systems.
It would also create a demonstration program to measure wind energy performance that would include the full range of wind conditions across the country. That data would be then used as part of the research and development program, in collaboration with private industry.
Rep. Tonko said that, “Government can play an important role in advancing renewable energy technologies by serving as the bridge that will get the best ideas from the drawing board to reality, and grow our innovation economy. This bill does just that by providing the necessary investment to help private industry perfect wind energy, and bring those advances in technology and cost savings to market.”
Wind energy currently makes up 2% of the total energy generation in the United States, but there is the potential for it to provide up to 20% with the right improvements in turbine technology, forecasting, energy storage, and expansion of transmission systems.