USA - Annual U.S. wind power rankings track industry's rapid growth

Wind continues to rank as one of the largest sources of new power generation and a mainstream option to meet growing electricity demand

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) recently released its annual rankings of wind energy development in the United States. The U.S. wind energy industry installed over 2,400 megawatts (MW) of new power generation in the country, an investment of about $4 billion, making wind one of the largest sources of new power generation in the country at a time of growing electricity demand. Total installed U.S. wind power capacity is over 11,600 MW, or enough to serve the equivalent of 3 million average households.

The rankings include the states that generate the most electricity from wind, the nation’s largest wind farms, leading suppliers of wind turbines, largest owners of wind projects, utilities that use the most wind power for their customers, and other industry information. Following a growing number of inquiries, this year’s rankings also feature a new category: Congressional districts with most wind power installed.

“These wind power rankings tell the story of a vibrant industry that is growing fast, competing hard, gaining market share, and all the while powering a cleaner, stronger America,” said AWEA executive director Randall Swisher. “Our new Congressional district rankings also serve as a reminder of the many benefits that wind power brings to local communities--new jobs, more local revenue, cleaner air, and an essential, home-grown contribution to meeting the challenge of global warming.”

However, a long-term extension of the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) is crucial to sustain this growth. Previous short-term extensions have led to a boom-and-bust cycle in the wind industry, increasing costs along the entire supply chain and preventing businesses from growing to their full potential.

AWEA’s annual rankings provide a standard reference for tracking the growth of wind power in the U.S. The rankings (as of December 31, 2006) are listed below (one megawatt of wind power produces enough electricity on average to serve 250 to 300 homes):

States with most wind energy installed, by capacity (MW):

- Texas - 2,768
- California - 2,361
- Iowa - 936
- Minnesota - 895
- Washington - 818

Texas is firmly established as the leader in wind power development, with over 2,700 MW installed at the end of 2006 and some 1,000 MW currently under construction. Washington moves into fifth place (ahead of Oklahoma) with the addition of two large projects, Big Horn and Wild Horse. Iowa and Minnesota look likely to break the 1,000 MW mark in 2007. Washington will come close, with the 140-MW Marengo project that is currently under construction there.

American Wind Energy Association
Edited by Trevor Sievert, Online Editorial Journalist
wind energy, renewable energy, jobs, wind turbine, wind power, wind farm, rotorblade, onshore, offshore

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