Wind energy is one of the fastest growing forms of electricity generation in the United States, with the largest share renewable electricity generating capacity in the country, and according to new information from the American Wind Energy Association, wind energy now supplies more than 30% of the electricity in four states — Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.
Launched in New Mexico this week — one of the rising stars of the US wind energy sector, adding wind power capacity at a faster rate in 2017 than any other state — the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) published its U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report 2017 report which highlighted the role wind energy is playing in the country’s rapid expansion towards low-carbon electricity generation.
According to this latest report, wind power generated 6.3% of US electricity in 2017. However, wind’s impact can be better seen in its role in states like Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, and South Dakota, where it is generating over 30% of capacity. Looking further abroad, the report shows that more than 14 states are generating over 10% of electricity from wind. Overall, operating wind power capacity grew by 9% in 2017, with the installation of 7,017 megawatts (MW) worth of new capacity, bringing the country’s cumulative capacity up to 88,973 MW, or around 54,000 wind turbines operating in 41 states (as well as Guam and Puerto Rico).
“American wind power reached new heights for energy generated and U.S. jobs in 2017. And don’t be surprised when the industry continues to break records,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Wind is competitively priced, reliable, and clean – a winning combination that’s creating economic growth in all 50 states.”
New Mexico was highlighted by the AWEA as a standout, given that it is adding wind power capacity at a faster rate than any other state in the country. In 2017, New Mexico installed 570 MW — a 51% increase — and supplied over 13% of the state’s electricity generation.
“You can see the future of American energy here in New Mexico, where our industry grew at a faster rate than any other state last year,” said Kiernan. “It’s a place where wind farms and transmission lines are rapidly becoming staples of the economy, creating new jobs and bringing a wave of private investment to rural communities.”
“I’m proud that New Mexico’s wind power capacity grew at a faster rate than any other state and generated an unprecedented level of private sector investment and job growth,” added Martin Heinrich, the junior United States Senator from New Mexico. “With our robust wind and solar resources, New Mexico is at the epicenter of the rapidly growing clean energy economy. As consumers and major companies demand cheaper and cleaner power sources, our state stands to benefit and become an even bigger leader in this booming energy sector–especially in rural communities. We should be doing everything we can to meet our state’s full potential as a wind energy powerhouse, from building new transmission infrastructure to investing in job training programs. I will keep fighting for policies that move New Mexico’s energy economy forward.”
Meanwhile, the US wind energy industry is employing a record 105,500 people across the country, with wind projects or wind-related factories located in all 50 states (plus, again, Guam and Puerto Rico). The country now boasts over 500 wind-related factories which support over 23,000 factory jobs.