Texas Firms its Lead Over California in Wind Power Capacity

April 18, 2007

A continued rapid pace of wind power development in Texas has firmed up its claim to the title as the state with the most wind power capacity. California has long been the U.S. leader in terms of wind power, but with its much greater wind resource, Texas gained a thin lead in mid-2006 and greatly extended that lead later in the year. Although both states have policies favorable to wind power, California added 211 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity in 2006, while Texas added 773 MW, boosting its total to 2,768 MW. The wind power rankings, released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) on April 11th, place Texas wind power capacity a full 17 percent greater than the wind power capacity in California. A key to the rise in status for the Lone Star State is FPL Energy's expansion of the Horse Hollow wind energy center to 736 MW, making it the largest wind power facility in the world, and the expansion of the Sweetwater wind facility to 264 MW, making it the fifth largest wind plant in the United States. According to AWEA, another 1,000 MW of wind power are currently under construction in Texas.

New York State failed to make AWEA's top-five list, but it has earned a place of honor for featuring the country's second-largest wind facility, the Maple Ridge Wind Farm, which has been expanded to 322 MW. GE Energy maintained its leading role as a wind turbine supplier for U.S. wind plants, providing enough turbines to generate 1,146 MW of wind power, but faced new competition from Siemens, which provided 573 MW of wind turbines in 2006. Wind turbines also continued to gain in size, with Vestas installing 3-MW wind turbines for a project in California, while Siemens installed 2.3-MW wind turbines in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Texas. However, GE Energy's 1.5-MW wind turbine is still the most widely installed turbine in the country. See the AWEA press release.

Wind turbine sales are still going strong this year. In mid-February, GE Energy announced that it will provide 300 of its 1.5-MW wind turbines to Noble Environmental Power for projects to be built in New York State this year and next. In March, enXco bought 184 of GE Energy's 1.5-MW wind turbines for delivery by 2008, and We Energies bought 88 1.65-MW wind turbines from Vestas Wind Systems for its Blue Sky Green Field wind project. Last week, enXco company bought 75 2-MW wind turbines from Repower Systems AG, and Tierra Energy bought 42 2.1-MW wind turbines from Suzlon Wind Energy Corporation. See the March 23rd and April 11th enXco press releases, and the press releases from GE Energy, We Energies, and Suzlon (PDF 29 KB). Download Adobe Reader.