Wyoming Wind Power

Brendon Austin
November 11, 2015

Submitted as coursework for PH240, Stanford University, Fall 2015


Fig. 1: Wyoming Wind Energy Center in Uinta County, Wyoming. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

The wind power sector in the branch of the energy industry has been rapidly expanding over the last several years in the United States. Wind energy holds the promise to become a significant part of a clean energy portfolio in the United States.

Currently, the big driver behind making a push for growth in the wind energy is the falling cost of wind-produced electricity. Over the past 30 years, the cost of wind energy has significantly decreased, due to both capital cost reductions and performance improvements. As capital costs have moderated from 2009-2010 levels, the cost of wind energy has fallen and is now at an all-time low within fixed wind resource classes. [2] In addition, wind power is not only an alternative to fossil fuels, but it is also plentiful, renewable, widely distributed, clean, and produces no greenhouse gases during operation. The net effects on the environment are exponentially less problematic than those of nonrenewable energy sources.

Where Is The Potential?

As the United States continues to progress in the implementation of wind power through wind farming, the need for suitable environments increases. Many states offer their fair share of opportunities to help produce mechanical energy through wind power, however, no other state may have more potential than that of Wyoming. Wyoming has one of the richest wind resources in the nation, with most of the wind potential waiting to be developed. Many sites are being developed and taking advantage of the Wyoming geography like the Wyoming Wind Energy Center in Uinta County, Wyoming displayed in Fig. 1. Its geography of high-altitude prairies coupled with broad ridges makes the state an ideal site for the development of wind resources.

In addition to the having the perfect geographic setting, wind power generation would create steady income streams and highly skilled jobs that make it a sustainable asset to local communities in contrast to the massive influx of temporary workers and boom-and-bust income patterns of the oil and gas industry. [1]

Fig. 2: Wyoming Wind Resource Map. (Source: Wikimedia Commons. Courtesy of the DOE)


The advantages to implementing large-scale wind production in the state of Wyoming are abundant. However, there is a chief disadvantage to conducting wind power operations in the windy state. That is its isolation. Its relative distance from major population centers, and the lack of transmission capacity make it difficult to retain the total amount of power that is extracted from the wind turbines. Hence, the wind power situation in Wyoming is not 100% efficient.


Wind power is an incredibly valuable renewable resource that is at our disposal. Its environmentally friendly capabilities, little maintenance, and lack of greenhouse gas creation make it very appealing to all, especially in the state of Wyoming. Fig. 2 displays just the wind power resource estimates for the state. Most of the state can be labeled as a fair place to conduct wind power operations, but also there are many places in southeastern Wyoming that could be characterized as superb landmarks to operate. Simply, these estimates are too good to ignore.

As a society, we have the choice of developing clean energy sources today and replacing dirty fossil fuel sources to reap the benefits of reduced greenhouse gas production. Or, we can put off developing clean energy solutions until we run out of fossil fuels and face the double crisis of accelerated climate change and ultimately an interruption in the energy supply that fuels our society. [1]

© Brendon Austin. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] E.M. Molvar, "Wind Power in Wyoming: Doing it Smart from the Start," Biodiversity Conservation Alliance, November 2008

[2] E. Lantz, M. Hand and R. Wiser, "The Past and future Cost of Wind Energy," U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/CP-6A20-54526, August 2012.