Texas Overtakes California as the Top State for Wind Power
August 2, 2006
Texas is now the nation's largest producer of wind power, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). AWEA's Second Quarter Market Report, released on July 25th, finds that the Lone Star State now hosts 2,370 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity, besting the nation's historic wind power leader, California, by 47 MW. According to AWEA, California has led the nation in wind power capacity since 1981, when the first commercial wind projects were built there. At one time, more than 80 percent of the world's wind power capacity was located in California. Since then, the world and the rest of the United States have caught up to the Golden State.
AWEA says a total of 822 MW of wind power have been installed thus far in 2006, including wind projects in Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Montana, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Texas. Texas gained its lead largely through the expansion of the Horse Hollow Wind Energy Center, which grew from 210 MW to just over 500 MW. With more wind power facilities under construction in Illinois, Kansas, Michigan, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Missouri, New York, Oregon, Washington, and Texas, AWEA expects 2006 to break all records, with 3,000 MW of new wind power capacity installed. Since the U.S. currently hosts 9,971 MW of wind power, the country will undoubtedly draw on more than 10 gigawatts of wind power by year's end. See the AWEA press release.
Among the notable wind power additions is the Solano County wind project in northern California, which features eight 3-MW wind turbines from Vestas. The Danish company's V90-3.0 MW wind turbines are the largest yet installed on U.S. soil. Wind turbine sales are also creating new U.S. jobs, as Gamesa just opened a manufacturing facility for wind turbine blades in Pennsylvania that is expected to employ more than 230 people. The Spanish wind turbine company is planning three more manufacturing plants in the state that will employ up to 300 workers. In addition, Knight & Carver is building a wind blade repair and manufacturing facility in Howard, South Dakota, that should begin full-scale production in November. Located in the southeast corner of the state, the facility is expected to employ 46 people. See the press releases from Vestas, the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, and Knight & Carver.