AWEA Report Sees Increases in US Wind Energy Capacity and Manufacturing

Leading companies in the U.S. wind energy market maintained their top positions in several categories even as other leaders emerged in new categories, while 24 states saw new wind turbine and component manufacturing facilities opened, expanded or announced in 2008, according to the annual wind energy industry rankings report released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The new listings, based on 2008 year-end numbers, show Texas leading in wind capacity and largest wind farms installed. The numbers also show that Minnesota and Iowa are both generating more than 7% of their electricity from wind. Indiana is the state with the fastest growth in wind on a percentage basis.

“The wind energy industry today generates not only clean energy for our economy, but also hope and opportunity for American workers and businesses,” said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. “Whether it is building or maintaining a wind project, or producing wind turbine components, you’ll find people employed in wind power in nearly all 50 states today.”

Highlights from AWEA’s new report include Iowa, with 2,791 megawatts (MW) installed, surpassed California with 2,517 MW for the number two position in wind power generating capacity. Oregon moved into the 1,000-MW club, which now counts seven states, including Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Washington and Colorado.

Indiana ranked as the state with the fastest growth rate, expanding installations from zero to 131 MW, followed by Michigan with 48%, Utah at 21%, New Hampshire with 17% and Wisconsin at 6%.

The top five states in terms of capacity installed are:

  • Texas, with 7,118 MW
  • Iowa, with 2,791 MW
  • California, with 2,517 MW
  • Minnesota , with 1,754 MW
  • Washington, with 1,447 MW

Ten new manufacturing facilities came online, 17 were expanded, and 30 were announced in 2008, according to AWEA estimates. Approximately 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today—a 70% increase from 50,000 a year ago—and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more.

NextEra Energy Resources (formerly FPL Energy) remains atop the list of project owners, with 6,290 MW of wind power assets, roughly 25% of the total installed in the U.S. The three companies that make up the next 25% are Iberdrola Renewables, MidAmerican Energy, and Horizon-Energia de Portugal.

GE Energy turbines accounted for 43% of all new capacity installed in the U.S. in 2008. The rest of the top five include Vestas, which accounted for 13%, Siemens and Suzlon at 9% each, and Gamesa at 7%.

The wind power generating fleet of over 25,300 MW in place as of December 31,2008 will generate an estimated 73 billion kilowatt-hours in 2009, enough to serve the equivalent of close to 7 million average U.S. homes.

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