Texas Ranks Highest in Wind-Power Production

Washington, USA (By Greenbiz) – The American Wind Energy Association yesterday released its annual rankings of wind energy development in the United States. The U.S. wind energy industry installed over 2,400 megawatts of new power generation in the country, an investment of about $4 billion.

The growth in wind power makes it one of the largest sources of new power generation in the country at a time of growing electricity demand. Total installed U.S. wind power capacity is over 11,600 MW, or enough to serve the equivalent of 3 million average households.

The rankings include the states that generate the most electricity from wind, the nation’s largest wind farms, leading suppliers of wind turbines, largest owners of wind projects, utilities that use the most wind power for their customers, and other industry information. Following a growing number of inquiries, this year’s rankings also feature a new category: Congressional districts with most wind power installed.

“These wind power rankings tell the story of a vibrant industry that is growing fast, competing hard, gaining market share, and all the while powering a cleaner, stronger America,” said AWEA executive director Randall Swisher. “Our new Congressional district rankings also serve as a reminder of the many benefits that wind power brings to local communities–new jobs, more local revenue, cleaner air, and an essential, home-grown contribution to meeting the challenge of global warming.”

AWEA’s annual rankings provide a standard reference for tracking the growth of wind power in the U.S. These rankings are current as of December 31, 2006, and one megawatt of wind power produces enough electricity on average to serve 250 to 300 homes.

The states with the most wind energy installed, by capacity in megawatts are:
  1. Texas (2,768)
  2. California (2,361)
  3. Iowa (936)
  4. Minnesota (895)
  5. Washington (818)
Texas is firmly established as the leader in wind power development, with over 2,700 MW installed at the end of 2006 and some 1,000 MW currently under construction. Washington moves into fifth place (ahead of Oklahoma) with the addition of two large projects, Big Horn and Wild Horse. Iowa and Minnesota look likely to break the 1,000 MW mark in 2007. Washington will come close, with the 140-MW Marengo project that is currently under construction there.

The two largest wind farms operating in the U.S. by megawatt are FPL Energy’s Horse Hollow project in Texas, at 736 megawatts; the next largest is PPM Energy and Horizon Wind Energy’s Maple Ridge, N.Y. project, with 322 megawatts generated.

Horse Hollow, completed in 2006, is the largest single wind farm in operation in the U.S. The portion of Horse Hollow added in 2006 was 1/5 th the total capacity in the country. We are seeing more multi-phase, very large projects, such as Horse Hollow and Maple Ridge. Building large projects in several phases provides time to verify the resource and optimize costs.

The fast-growing U.S. wind market is attracting large new manufacturing companies. G.E. remains in the lead, and Siemens carves out the second-largest market share after entering the market with its acquisition of Bonus in 2004 (Bonus last sold wind turbines in the U.S. in 2002). Another indicator of the heated competition playing out in the U.S. market: fourteen manufacturers, including eight of the world’s top ten, will be exhibiting at the WINDPOWER 2007 Conference & Exhibition in Los Angeles this June.

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