Wind drives back economic gloom

Energy Matters0

From the American Wind Energy Association

Washington, D.C. (April 13) –  Wind energy leaders in several categories maintained their #1 positions even as other leaders emerged in new categories, while 24 states saw new wind turbine and component manufacturing facilities opened, expanded or announced in 2008, according to the annual wind energy industry rankings report released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The new listings, based on 2008 year-end numbers, show Texas leading in wind capacity and largest wind farms installed, Minnesota and Iowa both generating over 7% of their electricity from wind, and Indiana as the state with the fastest growth in wind on a percentage basis.

In company rankings, NextEra Energy Resources (formerly FPL Energy) continues to lead in wind farm ownership; GE Energy remained the wind turbine maker with the largest amount of new capacity installed, and Xcel Energy again leads investor-owned utilities in wind power.  Wind power’s recent growth has also accelerated investment in manufacturing: wind turbine and turbine component manufacturers announced, added or expanded more than 55 facilities in 2008 alone, spanning 24 states from Alabama to Wisconsin.  

“The wind energy industry today generates not only clean energy for our economy, but also hope and opportunity for American workers and businesses,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode.  “Whether it is building or maintaining a wind project, or producing wind turbine components, you’ll find people employed in wind power in nearly all 50 states today,” Bode said.

“But we cannot rest on past achievements. We need the right policies in place for our industry to maintain its momentum. A national Renewable Electricity Standard, requiring utilities to generate 25 percent of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025, is vital to provide the long-term, U.S.-wide commitment businesses need to invest tens of billions of dollars in clean energy installations and manufacturing facilities, and create hundreds of thousands of American jobs,” Bode said.

Highlights from AWEA’s new report include:

  • Iowa, with 2,791 MW installed, surpassed California (2,517 MW) for the No. 2 position in wind power generating capacity.
  • The top five states in terms of capacity installed are: 
    • Texas, with 7,118 MW
    • Iowa, with 2,791 MW
    • California, with 2,517 MW
    • Minnesota , with 1,754 MW
    • Washington, with 1,447 MW
  • Oregon moved into the 1,000-MW club, which now counts seven states, including Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Washington and Colorado.
  • Indiana ranked as the state with the fastest growth rate, expanding installations from zero to 131 MW, followed by Michigan (48%), Utah (21%), New Hampshire (17%) and Wisconsin (6%).
  • Two states – Minnesota and Iowa – now get over 7% of their electricity needs from wind.  Minnesota ranks first in this list (7.48%), followed closely by Iowa (7.1%).  The rest of the top five are Colorado, North Dakota, and New Mexico.
  • Ten new manufacturing facilities came online, 17 were expanded, and 30 were announced in 2008, according to AWEA estimates.  These investments and announcements span 24 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Michigan, Nebraska, New York, Tennessee, Wisconsin, South Carolina, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Illinois, Alabama, Ohio, Indiana, Montana, Texas, Minnesota, Idaho, South Dakota, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and Massachusetts.
  • Approximately 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today—a 70% increase from 50,000 a year ago—and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more.
  • NextEra Energy Resources remains atop the list of project owners, with 6,290 MW of wind power assets, roughly 25% of the total installed in the U.S.  The three companies that make up the next 25% are Iberdrola Renewables, MidAmerican Energy (including PacifiCorp), and Horizon-Energia de Portugal.
  • GE Energy turbines accounted for 43% of all new capacity installed in the U.S. in 2008.  The rest of the top five include Vestas, which accounted for 13%, Siemens and Suzlon at 9% each, and Gamesa at 7%.  Several new companies–Acciona, REPower, Fuhrlander, DeWind and AWE–entered the U.S. market in 2008.
  • The wind power generating fleet of over 25,300 MW in place as of December 31,2008 will generate an estimated 73 billion kWh in 2009, enough to serve the equivalent of close to 7 million average U.S. homes.  

The full annual rankings report is available on the AWEA Web site at; the new annual Outlook brochure is available at; and a state-by-state listing of existing and proposed wind energy projects is available at

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