New figures from the American Wind Energy Association have shown that the United States installed a total of 8,203 megawatts in 2016, of which 6,478 megawatts (MW) was installed in the fourth quarter of the year, making it the country’s second strongest quarter for wind energy installations ever.
As a result, wind energy has now surpassed hydropower dams to become the largest source of renewable electric capacity in the United States, and the fourth largest source overall, with a total of 82,183 MW.
US Annual and Cumulative Wind Power Capacity Growth
And wind energy is only going to continue growing, with project developers reporting more than 18,300 MW worth of wind capacity under construction or in advanced development, with another 6,345 MW in combined new announcements.
“American wind power is now the #1 source of renewable capacity, thanks to more than 100,000 wind workers across all 50 states,” said Tom Kiernan, AWEA CEO. “Growing this made-in-the-USA clean energy resource helps rural communities pay for new roads, bridges, and schools, while bringing back manufacturing jobs to the Rust Belt. With our two-thirds cost reduction over the last seven years, household brands like General Motors, Walmart, and more are buying low-cost wind energy to cut costs and power their businesses. American wind power is on track to double our output over the next five years, and supply 10 percent of U.S. electricity by 2020.”
Throughout 2016, 19 US states commissioned a total of 47 projects during the fourth quarter alone, with Texas leading the way with 1,790 MW, followed by Oklahoma with 1,192 MW, Kansas with 615 MW, North Dakota with 603 MW, and Iowa with 551 MW. Overall, Oklahoma has now surpassed California to become the third-ranking state in the nation with over 6,600 MW worth of installed wind energy capacity. Texas leads the way with nearly 21 GW worth of cumulative wind energy capacity, followed by Iowa with just under 7 GW.
US Installed Wind Power Capacity, Top States
The Q4 and annual report, Fourth Quarter 2016 U.S. Wind Industry Market Report, was released at an event at General Motor’s Arlington Assembly Plant, which will soon be 100% wind-powered.
“At GM, we’re committed to efforts in our facilities that create business value and strengthen communities where we live and work,” said Rob Threlkeld, GM global manager of renewable energy. “Using wind power delivers on this by securing more stable energy costs while reducing our impact on the environment.”