The best wind in America is in Wyoming. It is a door-snapping, heart-pounding wind that barrels in from the west, chasing the truckers along Interstate 80 as they race to make Omaha by nightfall.
It is sometimes described with words ordinarily associated with dark chocolate or exceptional pinot noir. It has been called dense, world-class, consistently extraordinary, special, and fabulous. . . .
There’s good wind across the nation’s midsection, but Wyoming’s wind is given an extra boost by a 100-mile stretch in the state’s southern half, where the Continental Divide all but disappears and the wind gathers force as it pushes through from the west. Beyond power and speed, Wyoming has consistency – what’s known as capacity. At many places in the state, the wind blows more than 40% of the time.
Along the highways around Cheyenne and Casper, plenty of turbines rise out of the sagebrush and scrublands. Wind energy here is already generating about 1,400 MW of power, but that’s perhaps one-tenth of the state’s potential. And in the past year the industry has come to a dead halt.
There are political obstacles, but the main problem is this: Wyoming has run out of power lines connecting it to the rest of the country. And until it gets more, that epic wind is just moving dust and dirt eastward, one gust at a time.