* Wind capacity grows to near 47,000 MW
* Natural gas and wind provide most new U.S. generation
* AWEA urges Congress to renew production tax credit
April 12 The U.S. wind industry installed 6,816
megawatts (MW) in 2011, 31 percent higher than 2010, for a total
of 46,916 MW installed to date, the industry's trade group said
in a release Thursday.
Setting the stage for a strong 2012, the American Wind
Energy Association (AWEA) also said there were more than 8,300
MW of wind power under construction across the United States.
The nation has about one million megawatts of generating
capacity with about 400,000 MW coming from natural gas burning
plants, 300,000 MW from coal, 100,000 MW from nuclear, 80,000 MW
from hydropower, 50,000 MW from oil and the rest mostly from
wind and other renewables.
One megawatt powers about 1,000 homes.
Wind and natural gas are the two largest sources of new
generating capacity in the United States. Wind has provided
about 35 percent of new U.S. power capacity over the past five
years, AWEA said.
But the trade group warned new wind projects could suffer if
Congress allows the Production Tax Credit to expire at the end
of 2012. The tax credit is a tax incentive that encourages
development of clean energy projects.
"In hard economic times we're creating jobs and delivering
clean, affordable electricity," AWEA CEO Denise Bode said in the
"But we will lose all these consumer benefits and a brand
new, growing manufacturing sector if Congress allows the
Production Tax Credit to expire. Businesses need certainty. That
is why it is urgent that Congress extend the PTC now, or risk
losing a bright new manufacturing sector," she said.
AWEA said the wind industry was facing a recurrence of the
boom-bust cycle it saw in previous years when the production tax
credit was allowed to expire. In the years following expiration,
installations dropped by between 73 and 93 percent, resulting in
major job losses, AWEA said.
The three states with the most wind power installed are
Texas with 10,300 MW, Iowa with 4,300 MW and California with
Top ten states for wind generation as a percentage of their
1. South Dakota: 22.3%
2. Iowa: 18.8%
3. North Dakota: 14.7%
4. Minnesota: 12.7%
5. Wyoming: 10.1%
6. Colorado: 9.2%
7. Kansas: 8.3%
8. Oregon: 8.2%
9. Idaho: 8.2%
10. Oklahoma: 7.1%
Top ten states for wind projects under construction in 2012:
1. Kansas: 1,189 MW
2. Texas: 857 MW
3. California: 847 MW
4. Oregon: 640 MW
5. Illinois: 615 MW
6. Pennsylvania: 520 MW
7. Iowa: 470 MW
8. Oklahoma: 393 MW
9. Michigan: 348 MW
10. Washington: 331 MW
(Reporting By Scott DiSavino; Editing by David Gregorio)