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U.S. Wind Report: Nearly 7 GW Installed in 2011

As the American Wind Energy Association fights for the industry's policy backbone, it used the unveiling of its annual report to highlight growth over the past five years.

According to the report, the past five years of stable policy has ushered in an era of large-scale development and high-volume investment. Over the past five years, the industry has:

  • Brought in as much as $20 billion annually in private investment to the U.S.
  • Created one of the largest providers of new American electric generation with 35 percent of all new power capacity, right behind natural gas.
  • Driven technology advances that have made wind more affordable than ever. A typical wind turbine now generates 30 percent more electricity -- all while driving down costs. 
  • Created nearly 500 new American manufacturing facilities and employed 75,000 workers overall, including 30,000 in the manufacturing sector, from coast to coast.

The report also detailed growth from the past year. South Dakota and Iowa lead a record five states that received more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind in 2011. Seven states have at least 4,000 wind jobs apiece, and the list shows the industry’s geographic reach, stretching from Iowa to Texas to Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, California and Michigan. Meanwhile, Kansas is at the top of the list for projects under construction. The U.S. wind industry installed 6,816 megawatts (MW) in 2011, 31 percent higher than 2010, for a total of 46,916 MW installed in the U.S. to date. And there are more than 8,300 MW under construction, setting the stage for a strong 2012.

“This shows what wind power is capable of: building new projects, powering local economies and creating jobs,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “Traditional tax incentives are working. This tremendous activity is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC).”

Without an extension of the Production Tax Credit, however, some analysts are predicting that a record 2012 could be followed by a massive contraction in which only 500 MW are installed in 2013.


TOP 10 STATES FOR OVERALL WIND JOBS

1. Iowa: 6,000-7,000
2. Texas: 6,000-7,000
3. Illinois: 6,000-7,000
4. Ohio: 5,000-6,000
5. Colorado: 4,000-5,000
6. California: 4,000-5,000
7. Michigan: 4,000-5,000
8. Pennsylvania: 3,000-4,000
9. Florida: 2,000-3,000
10. Oregon: 2,000-3,000


TOP STATES FOR WIND GENERATION

1. South Dakota: 22.3%
2. Iowa: 18.8%
3. North Dakota: 14.7%
4. Minnesota: 12.7%
5. Wyoming: 10.1%
6. Colorado: 9.2%
7. Kansas: 8.3%
8. Oregon: 8.2%
9. Idaho: 8.2%
10. Oklahoma: 7.1%


TOP STATES FOR WIND PROJECTS UNDER CONSTRUCTION

1. Kansas: 1,189 MW
2. Texas: 857 MW
3. California: 847 MW
4. Oregon: 640 MW
5. Illinois: 615 MW
6. Pennsylvania: 520 MW
7. Iowa: 470 MW
8. Oklahoma: 393 MW
9. Michigan: 348 MW
10. Washington: 331 MW

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