Wind officially beat out solar as the fastest-growing energy source in the country this year, according to a new report by the U.S. Department of Energy. The US installed a record 16,836 megawatts of wind capacity in 2021, as detailed in the 2021 Land-Based Wind Market Report , published Monday by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. In doing so, wind surpassed solar capacity additions for the first time, despite solar having a “record-breaking year” for new additions. Both wind and solar exceeded any other power source for new capacity, beating out natural gas capacity additions, which fell to a five-year low. In the southwest, new wind turbines represented nearly 80 percent of new energy additions. What this means is that we’re building more turbines, and bigger ones, for less money—in both standalone farms and in hybrid facilities that combine wind power with fossil fuel, solar, and battery storage (there were 38 hybrid plants at the end of 2020, the report notes). Average rotor size has increased 159 percent from the late 90s to 408 feet, while average turbine height has grown 59 percent to 295 feet in the same timeframe, and the country is now home […]

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