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    Virginia Renewables - Wind Energy

    Historically, wind energy has been used for purposes as varied as pumping water, land and water transportation, and electrical generation. Today, the predominant commercial use of wind energy in the US is electricity generation.

    Availability of wind energy varies markedly from place to place. Wind energy is most feasible, economically, in locations where steady breezes are available. In Virginia, favorable wind locations are located in the western mountains, close to the ridge tops, and along the Atlantic coast.

    The principle of operation for a wind-energy generating device is simple and straightforward: The force of wind against the blades turns a turbine, which generates electricity for the user. Information on wind energy generation technologies is available from the US Department of Energy at

    Although the wind blows freely in several Virginia locations, no commercial wind-energy generators operate within the state.


  • Virginia Wind Energy Availability (NREL)
  • US Wind Resource (NREL)

  • Source:
  • U.S. Department of Energy, State Wind Activities.

  • Potential for Wind Development

    Region Area Exposed to Wind
    (square kilometers)
    Potential Power Output
    at a 50-Meter Hub Height (Megawatts)
    Contiguous U.S. Total 625,488 734,073
    Virginia 652 706

  • Potential generating capability is presented in average megawatts per square kilometer. Capacity denoted in average megawatts should not be confused with nameplate capacity in megawatts. The nameplate capacity rating represents peak output at the rated wind speed, while average megawatts is the normalized actual power production (average megawatts multiplied by 8,760 hours per year results in the annual energy production in kilowatthours per year).
  • Moderate land use and environmental restrictions, within 10 Miles of transmission has been assumed.

  • Source:
  • National Renewable Energy Laboratory, U.S. Wind Resources Accessible to Transmission Lines (August 5, 1994). Published in Renewable Energy Annual 1995.

  • Links

    Existing Units by Fuel and Nameplate Capacity
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    Virginia Center for Coal and Energy Research
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    The Virginia Energy Patterns and Trends project stopped operations in 2009. This data is still available as a service to the public and is updated when the data is consistent with an active project.
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