The nation's wind energy industry installed more than 2,800 MW of new generating capacity in the first quarter of 2009, with new projects completed in 15 states, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported recently in its first quarter market report.

According to AWEA CEO Denise Bode, these new projects shine a ray of hope on the struggling economy by creating jobs; however, she says the United States still lacks the long-term signal that is needed to build up renewable energy on a large scale. “The time is now for a national renewable electricity standard (RES), a policy that over 80% of Americans favor and for which they voted,” she says. “President Obama's campaign position of generating 25% of our electricity from renewable energy sources by 2025 will help revitalize our economy and protect consumers when they need it the most — when the price of the fuels used for electricity generation goes up.”

This puts the total wind power generating capacity in operation in the United States at 28,206 MW, enough to serve more than 8 million homes and avoid the emissions of 52 million tons of carbon dioxide annually — the equivalent of removing 8.8 million cars from the road.

Breaking down the stats by state, Kansas and New York now have more than 1,000 MW of wind power generating capacity, boosting the wind power “gigawatt” state club to nine (see Table). In Texas, a portion of the large Roscoe project was completed, bringing the project up to 584.5 MW. The next 197-MW section of the project is slated to be completed soon, which will take it to the top of the list of the nation's largest operating wind power projects. Indiana keeps its title as fastest growing state with the large 400.3-MW project that was brought online. States tallying the most rapid growth in wind capacity in the first quarter include:

  • Indiana 75%
  • Maine 55%
  • Nebraska 53%
  • Idaho 49%
  • New York 34%

To see the complete report, go to www.awea.org/publications/reports/1Q09.pdf or check out an updated map of wind energy projects at www.awea.org/projects.

Gigwatt and Beyond

The following states currently lead the nation with more than 1,000 MW of wind power generating capacity.