About 3% of the total electricity in the United States was generated by wind turbines in 2012 (according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration), which is equivalent to the annual electricity use for about 12 million households. The amount of electricity generated by wind has increased from about 6 billion kilowatt hours (kwh) in 2000 to 140 billion kwh in 2012.
In response to the Department of Interior’s Powering Our Future initiative, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has begun investigating how to assess the impacts of wind energy development on wildlife at a national scale.
The USGS has extensive experience assessing energy resources, and it’s that expertise that makes the USGS qualified to assess nationwide impacts of wind energy development. One of the major reasons behind the success of USGS energy resource assessments is the scientifically robust methodology that underpins them.
USGS energy resource assessment methodologies are publicly available and are technically peer reviewed externally, and just as importantly, are used consistently in every assessment. That means that a USGS oil and gas assessment in Alaska provides comparable information to a USGS oil and gas assessment in Texas, or that a USGS geothermal assessment in California is comparable to a USGS geothermal assessment in Nevada.