Wind Power Report: U.S. 2011

The answer, could perhaps, be blowing in the wind.

American Flag Wind TurbineWell, at least the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) may think so, as they released today their annual report on wind industry growth in the US for year 2011.

A good year for wind, indeed!  The U.S. wind industry installed 6,816 MW of capacity, 30% higher than 2010, which brings the new grand total to 46,916 MW.

The wind industry has created, over the past five years, around 500 new manufacturing facilities, which accounted for 75,000 new employment opportunities, 30,000 being in the manufacturing sector.

Top states that rank as a percentage of their total electric supply that comes from wind energy:

  1. South Dakota: 22.3%
  2. Iowa: 18.8%
  3. North Dakota:  14.7%
  4. Minnesota: 12.7%
  5. Wyoming: 10.1%

Where you at, Illinois?  Home of the windy city?  Yes, yes, we know the nickname may have not originated from the windy lake Michigan, but do not fear Chicagoans! Your state ranks tied for first, along with Iowa and Texas, for creating the most jobs in the wind sector in 2011.

Where is all this growth coming from?

Like most growing industries, it’s hard to detect exact correlation and causation in a fast, ever-changing market.  But, a huge factor could be that by the 2012 year’s end, the federal tax credit for wind energy production is set to expire.  This may have caused the extra push of accelerated project growth and development to take advantage of the up to 30% tax credit offered by the government.  The evidence becomes more clear when you look at the 8,000 MW of capacity construction set for 2012, and nearly zero projects officially in place for 2013.  The coming year will come marked with a pivotal federal policy decision on renewables.

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