Thursday, 14 February 2013

California ties Iowa in wind energy
31 Jan 2013

Iowa added 600 MWs of wind power last year, but California came from behind in the fourth quarter of 2012 to tie Iowa for second in wind power generation, the American Wind Energy Association said Thursday. Each state ended the year with 5,549 MWs of wind power generation installed, trailing Texas' nation-leading 12,212 MWs.

Behind Texas, Iowa and California come Illinois, with 3,568 MWs, and Oregon, with 3,153 MWs. Because its population is much smaller than those of California and Texas, Iowa remains the nation's leader in per capita wind power capacity.

Iowa remains a significant center of wind turbine and tower construction, with factories at Newton, Cedar Rapids and West Branch. Siemens laid off 400 workers at its Fort Madison plant in August, although the facility remains available for future use.

The fourth quarter of 2012 saw a rush of wind industry construction as developers faced the possible end of the 2.2¢-per-kW-hour production tax credit, which expired Dec. 31. Congress ultimately extended the credit on New Year's Day. In the fourth quarter, MidAmerican Energy added farms in northwest Iowa.

The U.S, wind industry installed 8,380 MWs of generation during the fourth quarter of 2012, pushing the total for 2012 to 13,124 MWs and the overall wind power capacity to 60,007 MWs. There are now more than 45,100 wind turbines installed across the US

That flurry of wind industry construction late in the year more than doubled the previous high for installations in a quarter. The old mark was 4,113 MWs, which was set during the fourth quarter of 2009.

Over the entire year, four states installed more than 1,000 MWs. Texas led with 1,826, California came in second place with 1,656, Kansas installed 1,440 and Oklahoma added 1,127. Illinois rounded out the top five with 823 MWs.