Wind power can now supply 10 million American homes, says a new report by the American Wind Power Association.
The organization says the industry installed 1,100 MW of new wind power capacity in the first quarter of 2011 and entered the second quarter with another 5,600 MW under construction.
“The under-construction figure is nearly twice the megawatts that the industry reported at this time in both 2009 and 2010; moreover, two-thirds of those megawatts are already locked in under long-term power purchase agreements with electric utilities, indicating an enduring industry that has proven both nimble and strong through a range of economic and policy conditions”, AWEA said. Total wind fleet now stands at 41,400 MW.
“American wind energy is ramping up, and these first-quarter figures indicate an industry poised for a renaissance. Refined technologies, affordable prices, and continued demand for clean, home-grown energy – these are all reasons why wind has consistently posted strong growth numbers, adding 35% of all new generating capacity since 2007,” said Denise Bode, AWEA’s CEO.
Minnesota was the state with most capacity additions (293 MW), followed by Washington (252 MW), Illinois (240 MW), Idaho (119 MW) and Nebraska (81 MW).
Of the 5,600 MW currently under construction, one third is located in Oregon, Washington and California, making the West Coast a leader in wind project activity. “States continue to lead the nation with clear, strong policies,” said Elizabeth Salerno, AWEA’s chief economist. “For example, 10 years ago, California led the nation with 60 percent of U.S. wind capacity. With the recent passage of the strongest renewable target in the nation—calling for 33 percent renewables by 2020 – California is poised to retake its leadership, as it already had over 600 MW under construction in the first quarter.”
Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.