Renewable power is growing on all fronts, and wind power is leading the way.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) new projects coming online are propelling the industry to record breaking levels of capacity.
In April, AWEA highlighted the first quarter announcements of new wind farm developments representing a combined capacity of 6,146 megawatts. To put that into perspective, this will be more generating capacity than is currently available in the entire state of California, one of the nation’s leading wind power states.
The additional capacity brings the total U.S. construction and advanced development pipeline to a record-breaking 39,161 MW, an 11 percent increase over the previous quarter, and setting the industry on a trajectory to grow by 40 percent in the near term.
Growth is widespread across the country. Of the total wind pipeline, 17,213 MW were under construction across 21 states at the end of the first quarter.
In a recent press release, the AWEA states, “Wind power is a 50-state industry. Either a wind farm or a factory supplying the industry can be found in every state.”
Growth in some states is especially strong. According to the AWEA, eight states are now on track to double their installed wind capacity. Texas boasted the most wind under construction with 6,528 MW. Of that total, 1,255 MW is new this year.
A total of 841 MW of wind projects came online during the first quarter, elevating the country’s total installed capacity to 97,223 MW. Iowa led the nation in new capacity installations with 536 MW brought online.
While there is no question this growth helps increase the output of clean, renewable power, it is also good for the economy. The AWEA emphasizes that more than 114,000 Americans worked in wind power at the end of last year, and that the position of wind turbine technician remains the second-fastest growing career in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
This growth is good for government too. According to AWEA data, the wind industry contributes over $1 billion every year in combined state and local taxes plus lease payments to landowners who host turbines.