U.S. wind power capacity grew 31 percent in 2011

By Editor


U.S. wind power capacity grew 31 percent in 2011

Greentech Lead America: U.S. wind power capacity
increased 31 percent in 2011, accounting for 35 percent of all new electricity
generation capacity.

According to the American Wind Energy Association, the
U.S. wind industry installed 6.8 gigawatts last year, to reach total capacity
of 46.9 gigawatts.

About 3.4 gigawatts, more than 60 percent of last year’s
installations, occurred in the fourth quarter of 2011. This was due to seasonal
weather and the expiration of the Treasury grant option, which offered to cover
as much as 30 percent of a project’s cost. In order to qualify, developers had
to start projects before the end of last year.

“This shows what wind power is capable of: building new
projects, powering local economies and creating jobs,”” said AWEA Chief
Executive Officer Denise Bode.

About 3 percent of U.S. power came from wind last year.
The industry is seeking to provide 20 percent by 2030. South Dakota led in
terms of total electricity produced at 22.3 percent, followed by Iowa at 18.8
percent. California led with 921 megawatts installed, followed by Illinois with
693 MW and Iowa with 647 MW.

NextEra Energy Resources owns the most U.S. wind power
capacity with 9.3 gigawatts, or 17.8 percent, more than the second- and
third-largest owners, Iberdrola SA (IBE) and EDP Renewables, combined.

The U.S. wind market started 2012 with 8.3 gigawatts of
new wind projects under construction, more than the 5.1 gigawatts under way at
the start of 2011. Kansas, Texas and California had the most wind-power
projects under construction.

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