The wind industry made major gains last year, especially in Texas, Iowa and South Dakota, according to a trio of recent DOE reports that found notable growth in the nation’s installed wind energy capacity.
More than 8,200 MW of wind energy capacity were added last year, representing 27% of all energy capacity added in 2016. Wind now supplies roughly 6% of electricity in the U.S., and 14 states obtain more than 10% of their energy from wind. U.S. wind installations generated more than 226 million MW last year, nearly double the 120 million MW produced in 2011.
Leading this growth are states like Texas, Iowa and South Dakota, which have aggressively pursued wind energy. Texas leads the nation in capacity with over 20 GW of wind technology installed, while Iowa and South Dakota both produced more than 30% of their electricity from wind last year. Another 12 states exceeded the 10% benchmark: Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Minnesota, Colorado, Vermont, Idaho, Maine, Texas, Oregon, New Mexico and Nebraska.
Distributed applications, which supply power directly to buildings and communities, are also making big gains in the market. Wind turbines in distributed applications reached a cumulative capacity of 992 MW last year generated from the 77,000 turbines installed across all 50 states, three territories and Washington, D.C. These turbines range from a few hundred watts to several megawatts.
“The wind industry continues to install significant amounts of new capacity and supplied about 6% of total U.S. electricity in 2016,” says Daniel Simmons, Acting Assistant Secretary for Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy. “As our reports explain, a combination of federal subsidies, state mandates, and technological advancements continue to help drive new wind capacity additions.”