Saturday, March 18, 2006

Wind Industry Report Shows Strong Growth in US

Wind Industry Report Shows Strong Growth in US
March 16, 2006
Source: Clean Edge News

The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released its annual industry rankings of wind energy development in the United States.

The rankings, which include the leading states for wind energy development, the suppliers of wind energy turbines, and owners and purchasers of wind energy, provide a useful measure of the size and breadth of the American wind energy industry. The industry easily broke earlier records in 2005, installing over 2,400 megawatts (MW) or over $3 billion worth of new generating equipment in 22 states. The final tally of 2,431 MW boosted the cumulative U.S. installed wind power fleet by over 35%, bringing the industry's total generating capacity to 9,149 MW, enough to serve the equivalent of 2.3 million homes.

As President Bush stated recently on his Advanced Energy Initiative tour, “areas with good wind resources have the potential to supply up to 20 percent of the electricity consumption of the United States.”

The annual industry rankings tell the rest of the story, providing a standard reference point for the burgeoning growth of the wind industry in the U.S. Wind continues to be one of the fastest growing energy sources in the world and in the nation.

“Wind energy’s continuing expansion, as reflected in these rankings, provides fresh evidence that it is capable of contributing to the nation’s electricity supply near the level of conventional power sources,” said AWEA executive director Randall Swisher. “Wind energy is a clean, safe, domestic, abundant, and affordable energy source, and one of the best options we have for new power generation today.”

The rankings (as of December 31, 2005) include the following:

States with most wind energy installed, by capacity (MW):

#1 California - 2,150 MW

#2 Texas - 1,995 MW

#3 Iowa - 836 MW

#4 Minnesota - 744 MW

#5 Oklahoma – 475 MW

#6 New Mexico – 407 MW

#7 Washington – 390 MW

#8 Oregon – 338 MW

#9 Wyoming – 288 MW

#10 Kansas – 264 MW

As of the end of 2005, California was still the state with the most wind power capacity installed, but Texas gained fast last year, and is expected to overtake California in 2006. California, where the U.S. wind industry began, has been the state with the largest wind power capacity since electricity-generating wind turbines were first installed there in 1981.

Two large projects were installed in Oklahoma in 2005 – the 147-MW Weatherford Wind Energy Center and the 151-MW Blue Canyon II project. Wyoming, which was #5 on last year’s ranking, was overtaken not only by Oklahoma, but also New Mexico (which added 140 MW of wind power in 2005), Washington (added 149 MW), and Oregon (75 MW).

Largest wind farms operating in the U.S. (MW):

# 1 Stateline, Oregon/Washington - 300 MW

# 2 King Mountain, Texas - 278 MW

# 3 Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, Texas – 210 MW

# 4 New Mexico Wind Energy Center, New Mexico - 204 MW

# 5 Storm Lake, Iowa - 193 MW

Wind farms have been getting bigger to take advantage of some economies of scale. The Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center in Taylor County, Tex., joined the ranks of the top five largest single wind farms in 2005. Leading owners of wind energy installations in the U.S. (MW):

#1 FPL Energy – 2,758 MW

#2 PPM Energy – 518 MW

#3 MidAmerican Energy – 360.5 MW

#4 Edison Mission Group – 316 MW

#5 Shell Wind Energy - 315 MW