Wind installations in the US soared by 31% in 2011 over the previous year, according to the latest figures from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
The AWEA’s fourth quarter results reveal that over 6810 MW were installed in 2011, with more than 8300 MW in construction.
California tops the list for new development with 921 MW installed, but Illinois also had a good year, along with other stalwarts Iowa, Minnesota and Oklahoma.
Newcomer Ohio comes out as the fastest growing state in 2011, with installations up 900% on the previous year, although that does only amount to 101 MW.
There are also now two states, Iowa and South Dakota, which receive 20% of the electricity from wind power.
“This shows what wind power is capable of: building new projects, powering local economies and creating jobs,” says AWEA CEO Denise Bode.
She credits the current administration’s tax incentives, particularly the Production Tax Credit (PTC), for driving the increase. Bode is urging Congress to renew the PTC when it expires in 2013.
“This tremendous activity is being driven by the federal 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,” she says.
If the PTC is not extended, Bode warns that 37,000 US jobs in the wind industry will be put at risk, along with thousands of manufacturing jobs.
“Do you want to be the one to say that we just shut down a new manufacturing sector, and an industry that could support 500,000 jobs in less than 20 years, just as it was getting a foothold in the US market?” Bode says she will be asking lawmakers.
For further information:
UK leads European installation of 866 MW offshore wind in 2011 (23-Jan)
US gives go ahead to major renewables projects (22-Dec 2011)
European offshore wind pipeline could power 130 million households (2-Dec 2011)
Deepwater Wind promises first US offshore wind farm (14-Oct 2011)
31 January 2012