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Wind Energy Makes New Inroads in Q4 2011

by Staff
Clean Edge, February 10, 2012

Wind energy operators say the Bonneville Power Administration's latest proposal falls short. The U.S. wind industry's fourth quarter results show that wind power is forging ahead into new states like Ohio and Nevada while doubling down on installations in existing strong wind markets in California, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas. Illinois was a very strong performer in 2011, clocking in as #2 for installations in the last year and rising to #4 in wind power overall (the only mover in the overall top 10) and Kansas tops the under construction list with more than 1,188 megawatts 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. The fourth quarter market report can be found here.

The U.S. wind industry installed just over 6,810 megawatts (MW) in 2011, 31 percent higher than 2010, and has more than 8,300 MW under construction, setting the stage for a strong 2012. 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 and rising to #4 on the overall list. 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 megawatts installed leading to a more than 900% growth rate. Meanwhile, South Dakota joined Iowa as the states receiving the highest percentage of their electricity from wind with 20%. 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.

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. This report also found that these job losses will begin now and accelerate with each month the PTC nears the expiration deadline at the end of the year. 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. The report can be found here.

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. This legislation recently received the endorsement of a coalition of more than 370 members, including the National Association of Manufacturers, the American Farm Bureau Federation, the Edison Electric Institute, the Western Governors' Association, the United Steelworkers and many members of the environmental community. A four-year PTC extension also has the support of the Governors' Wind Energy Coalition comprised of 23 Republican and Democratic Governors from across the U.S.

Other highlights of the fourth quarter and the U.S. Wind Industry Fourth Quarter Market Report 2011 that AWEA released today include:

Top 10 states for overall wind power:

  2010 Ranking 2011 Ranking
1 Texas 1 1
2 Iowa 2 2
3 California 3 3
4 Illinois 4 4
5 Minnesota 5 5
6 Washington 6 6
7 Oregon 7 7
8 Colorado 8 8
9 Oklahoma 9 9
10 North Dakota 10 10

Top 5 for new 2011 wind power installations:
  MWs Turbines
1 California 921.3 328
2 Illinois 692.45 404
3 Iowa 646.7 282
4 Minnesota 541.8 331
5 Colorado 501 262
Top 5 fastest growing in 2011:
  2011 MWs Installed 2011 Cumulative 2011 Growth
1 Ohio 101.5 112.43 929%
2 Vermont 40.0 46.4 625%
3 Massachusetts 27.7 45.93 151%
4 Idaho 264.7 617.22 75%
5 Maryland 50.0 120.3 71%
The fourth quarter market report can be found here.

Wind Energy Makes New Inroads in Q4 2011
Clean Edge, February 10, 2012

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