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Mapped: Average Wind Speed Across the U.S.

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a map of average wind speed across the continental U.S. in 2021

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Mapped: Average Wind Speed Across the U.S.

Wind energy is a hot topic in North America and around the world as a decarbonization tool, but full utilization requires a lot of wind.

This graphic from the team at the Woodwell Climate Research Center maps the average wind speed of the continental U.S. based on NOAA data from 2021.

Zooming in, you can examine North America’s wind regions and patterns in great detail. Clearly visible is the concentration of high wind speeds in the Great Plains (known as the Prairies in Canada), which has the greatest potential for wind power. You can also follow westerly winds traveling through the North American Cordillera of mountains, including the Rocky Mountains and Cascades.

Meanwhile, the Eastern U.S. and Canada have significantly lower average wind speeds, especially in the American South. That’s despite hurricanes with extremely high winds occasionally moving northward along the Eastern Seaboard towards the North Atlantic.

For more on on U.S. energy, head to Visualizing the Flow of U.S. Energy Consumption.
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This article was published as a part of Visual Capitalist's Creator Program, which features data-driven visuals from some of our favorite Creators around the world.

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Energy

Visualizing the Top Energy Priorities of Major Countries

This infographic lists the top energy priorities in 28 countries, based on an Ipsos survey involving 24,000 people.

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Visualizing the Top Energy Priorities of Major Countries

As policy makers, business leaders, and academics gather at COP28 in Dubai this week, topics like climate change and the energy transition will be front and center.

Discussions and policy commitments on these issues are crucial. However, navigating the complexity of aligning policies for the future of energy can be challenging, given the multitude of sometimes conflicting priorities among nations.

Today’s visualization uses data from Ipsos, which details how 24,000 people in 28 countries feel about the top energy issues in their country.

Top Issue: Energy Security

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia has propelled energy security to the forefront of concerns for many countries, particularly in Europe.

Directly impacted nations, including Germany, have had to reactivate coal production and extend the operational lives of nuclear power plants to ensure adequate heating during winter.

According to the Ipsos survey, achieving energy self-sufficiency, thereby reducing dependence on external sources, is the top energy priority for numerous countries, including the U.S., Canada, Italy, and France.

Country / Top PriorityEnergy Security Affordability Cleaner Energy Other
๐Ÿ‡ฟ๐Ÿ‡ฆ South Africa44%33%33%21%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ด Norway 42%28%25%20%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ช Sweden 41%27%21%23%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ฑ Poland 36%35%31%24%
๐Ÿ‡ฎ๐Ÿ‡น Italy36%32%31%20%
๐Ÿ‡ญ๐Ÿ‡บ Hungary35%30%30%26%
๐Ÿ‡น๐Ÿ‡ท Turkey35%28%33%23%
๐Ÿ‡ซ๐Ÿ‡ท France34%33%23%18%
๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ U.S.33%25%26%18%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡พ Malaysia 32%17%25%21%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Canada 31%28%22%19%
๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡ฆ Saudi Arabia25%21%22%16%

The survey reveals that even countries self-reliant on energy consider energy security the top priority.

Norway, for example, gets 96% of its energy by exploiting its offshore oil and gas fields and using hydroelectric power. The country even has a surplus of power, which it exports to other countries, such as the UK. Despite this, self-sufficiency remains a top priority in the minds of Norwegians.

Top Issue: Cleaner Energy

Following energy security, the second most critical priority is the development of cleaner energy sources like wind, solar, and hydrogen.

Country / Top PriorityEnergy Security Affordability Cleaner Energy Other
๐Ÿ‡ฏ๐Ÿ‡ต Japan21%17%40%26%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡ท Argentina33%23%38%30%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฟ New Zealand34%33%36%21%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Chile 30%25%35%24%
๐Ÿ‡จ๐Ÿ‡ด Colombia 24%26%33%28%
๐Ÿ‡ต๐Ÿ‡ช Peru22%22%31%25%
๐Ÿ‡ฒ๐Ÿ‡ฝ Mexico 29%23%31%20%

This concern is the top pick in Japan and a high concern for other Asian economies such as South Korea and China. Today, the region accounts for 52% of global carbon dioxide emissions.

Besides the environmental impact, clean energy development can have an economic impact. Recent studies have shown that doubling the share of renewables in the global energy mix could increase global GDP by up to 1.1% or $1.3 trillion.

Top Issue: Affordability of Energy

Reducing the cost of energy for consumers is the third most frequently mentioned concern. This is particularly emphasized in Belgium, Great Britain, and Germany, where prices are about double that of neighbors like France and Greece.

Country / Top PriorityEnergy Security Affordability Cleaner Energy Other
๐Ÿ‡ง๐Ÿ‡ช Belgium33%43%17%21%
๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง Great Britain38%41%25%24%
๐Ÿ‡ฆ๐Ÿ‡บ Australia31%37%23%18%
๐Ÿ‡ฉ๐Ÿ‡ช Germany28%34%23%15%
๐Ÿ‡ณ๐Ÿ‡ฑ Netherlands 30%33%20%23%
๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ธ Spain 27%32%26%20%

For perspective, energy prices in many European countries are more than twice or three times the global average.

Less frequently mentioned energy priorities include:

  • Building more energy infrastructure.
  • Charging energy consumers more taxes for excessive use.
  • Ensuring Indigenous peoples benefit from major energy projects.

Reducing deforestation emerged as the top priority in Brazil, home to 60% of the Amazon rainforest. Recent data indicates that almost 20% of the forest has been destroyed since the 1970s.

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