Feeling a Draft: Why the United States is Falling Behind in the Wind Race with China

Juliet Marie Archer, Claremont McKenna College


In 2010 the People’s Republic of China, for the first time, surpassed the United States in total installed wind power capacity. By evaluating the history and current dynamics of wind energy development in the United States and China, this paper demonstrates why the United States is falling behind, and, more importantly, how the United States can increase wind energy capacity in the future. These questions are significant in light of rising prices and diminishing supplies of fossil fuels, increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide, negative human health effects of pollution and the United States’ goals of energy security and independence. Rapidly increasing wind energy capacity in the United States cannot solve all of these problems, but it is a step in the right direction. To harness greater amounts of wind energy, the Federal government should create financial incentives for domestic producers and developers, a tax on fossil fuel power, and a national renewable portfolio standard.