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Annual U.S. Wind Power Rankings Track Industry's Rapid Growth


The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) today released its annual rankings of wind energy development in the United States. The U.S. wind energy industry installed over 2,400 megawatts (MW) of new power generation in the country, an investment of about $4 billion, making wind 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."

However, a long-term extension of the renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) is crucial to sustain this growth. Previous short-term extensions have led to a boom-and-bust cycle in the wind industry, increasing costs along the entire supply chain and preventing businesses from growing to their full potential.

AWEA's annual rankings provide a standard reference for tracking the growth of wind power in the U.S. The rankings (as of December 31, 2006) are listed below (one megawatt of wind power produces enough electricity on average to serve 250 to 300 homes):

States with most wind energy installed, by capacity (MW)
1.Texas2,768
2.California2,361
3.Iowa936
4.Minnesota895
5.Washington818


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.

Largest wind farms operating in the U.S. (MW)
Wind farmSize (MW)Project owner
Horse Hollow, TX736FPL Energy
Maple Ridge, NY322PPM Energy/Horizon Wind Energy
Stateline, OR & WA300FPL Energy
King Mountain, TX281FPL Energy
Sweetwater, TX264Babcock & Brown/Catamount


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. GE remains in the lead. 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.

FPL Energy continues to dominate the U.S. wind energy market with the construction of 777 MW of new wind power projects in 2006 (about a third of all new installations in the U.S. that year). Wind projects owned by FPL Energy generated more than 9.4 billion kWh of electricity in 2006, according to the company (the average U.S. household uses about 11,000 kWh per year, making 9.4 billion kWh equivalent to powering 850,000 households).

Xcel Energy is again in the lead after moving ahead of Southern California Edison last year. Xcel Energy is committed to increasing its use of renewable power throughout its eight-state service territory, according to the utility. MidAmerican Energy, which includes MidAmerican in the Midwest and PacifiCorp in the Northwest, moves into third place, with the acquisition in 2006 of several large facilities.

The wind industry installed 1,524 turbines in 2006, with a total generating capacity of 2,454 MW, bringing the average capacity to 1.6 MW. With 764 units installed, the GE Energy 1.5-MW is still the most widely installed. The second most widely installed in 2006 is the Siemens 2.3-MW, with 249 units installed.

These turbines all stand 100 meters to 145 meters tall (330--490 feet). Within each rated capacity, the length of the blades and height of the towers can vary to accommodate specific location and wind speed needs. Larger, taller turbines catch better winds at higher elevations and are more powerful because of the larger area swept by the blades; advances in technology such as sophisticated power electronics and high-tech materials also increase productivity. Wind turbines installed in 2006 average 1.6 MW in rated capacity and are at least twice as powerful as the average turbine installed in 2000.

AWEA is launching this new ranking in response to a growing number of inquiries and interest from Capitol Hill. Wind farms boost the tax base, helping to pay for schools, roads and hospitals. Wind farms also revitalize the economy of rural communities by providing steady income to farmers and other landowners. Each wind turbine contributes $3,000 to $5,000 or more per year in farm income, while farmers continue to grow crops or graze cattle up to the foot of the turbines.

These rankings are for House Congressional districts. The Senators from the states with most wind power installed are from California, Texas, Iowa, Minnesota and Washington. Information for these rankings was reported to AWEA by Association members. For more detailed data on existing wind power projects in the U.S. please go to www.awea.org/projects.





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