OLC Fiber

On Tuesday night, President Obama claimed that in addition to being the world's No. 1 oil and gas producer — a milestone reached thanks to its fracking boom — America is now No. 1 in wind power.

That might come as news to some, not least because China has much more wind capacity installed overall.

Advertisement

But according to the American Wind Energy Association, if you measure how much electricity actually gets delivered into the grid, the U.S. has been No.1 since 2008.

Here's how they explain it:

"The United States has more wind energy powering its grid than any other country in the world. Some mistakenly believe that China has become the leading producer of wind energy, surpassing the U.S. in this sector like so many others.

Advertisement

"It is true that China has more megawatts (MW) of wind turbines installed than the U.S. — over 90,000 MW to just over 60,000 MW for the US. However, a better measure is the total amount of electricity, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh), that each country produces from wind and delivers to customers each year."

Delivery depends on a host of factors, including infrastructure, efficiency technology and overall wind exposure. The U.S. has major advantages over China in all three, which allows it to claim the No. 1 delivery category.

Natural gas still comprises the majority of U.S. power, now about 3/5ths of all generation. Wind takes up than 5.4 percent.

But it does show that in addition to its unprecedented fossil fuel output, the U.S. has managed to simultaneously witness a surge in renewable energy.

Rob covers business, economics and the environment for Fusion. He previously worked at Business Insider. He grew up in Chicago.