The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA, Washington, D.C.) reported 2011 wind energy installation data on Jan. 26, noting that the U.S. wind industry installed just more than 6,810 MW in 2011, 31 percent more than 2010, and has more than 8,300 MW under construction. Total wind energy capacity in the U.S. is now 46,919 MW.
Illinois was a strong performer in 2011, clocking in at number two for installations in the last year and rising to number four in wind power overall. Kansas tops the under-construction list with more than 1,188 MW of wind scheduled to come on line in 2012. Ohio was another success story as the nation’s fastest growing state in wind power for 2011.
“This shows what wind power is capable of: building new projects, powering local economies and creating jobs,” said Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. “Traditional tax incentives are working. This tremendous activity is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit [PTC] – which leveraged an average of more than $16 billion a year in private investment over the last several years and supported tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs.”
While California topped the list for megawatts installed in 2011 with 921, Illinois also had a very strong 2011, coming in with the second most megawatts installed for the year. Other traditional stalwarts like Iowa, Minnesota and Oklahoma rounded out the top five. Ohio came in as the fastest growing wind power state in 2011 with 101 MW installed leading to a more than 900 percent growth rate. Meanwhile, South Dakota joined Iowa as the states receiving the highest percentage of their electricity from wind with 20 percent. Overall, 30 states brought wind projects online in 2011 and construction is ongoing for 2012 projects in 31 states including the first wind projects in Nevada, Connecticut and Puerto Rico.
“In hard economic times we’re creating jobs and delivering clean, affordable electricity,” Bode stressed. “But we will lose all these consumer benefits and a brand new, growing manufacturing sector if Congress allows the Production Tax Credit to expire. Businesses need certainty. That is why it is urgent that Congress extend the PTC now, before the end of the first quarter, or risk losing a bright new manufacturing sector to foreign countries.”
A recent report by Navigant Consulting finds that if Congress allows the PTC for wind to expire, jobs in the wind industry will be cut in half, meaning a loss of 37,000 American jobs and a one third cut to American wind manufacturing jobs, while private investment in the industry would drop by nearly two thirds. Meanwhile, extending the PTC will allow the wind industry to grow to almost 100,000 American jobs in just four years and stay on track toward supporting 500,000 American jobs by 2030.
Bipartisan legislation recently introduced by Representatives Dave Reichert (R, WA-08) and Earl Blumenauer (D, OR-03) seeks to grant a four-year extension to the existing Production Tax Credit (PTC) for wind energy (H.R. 3307, the “American Renewable Energy Production Tax Credit Extension Act”). This legislation has garnered the support of 56 cosponsors including 13 Republicans.
Other highlights of the fourth quarter and the U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter Market Report 2011 that AWEA released include:
Top 10 states for overall wind power:
- North Dakota
Top 5 for new 2011 wind power installations:
- California, 921.3 MW, 328 turbines
- Illinois, 692.45 MW, 404 turbines
- Iowa, 646.7 MW, 282 turbines
- Minnesota, 541.8 MW, 331 turbines
- Colorado, 501 MW, 262 turbines
Top 5 states for under construction:
- Kansas, 1,188.8 MW, 663 turbines
- Texas, 857.3 MW, 389 turbines
- California, 847.45 MW, 441 turbines
- Oregon, 640 MW, 256 turbines
- Illinois, 615.4 MW, 389 turbines
Click here for the full AWEA report.