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Governors' Wind Energy Coalition

America’s Wind Energy Industry Is Back on Track

February 1, 2013

To: Wind Energy Colleagues

From: Larry Pearce, Executive Director

Subject: America’s Wind Energy Industry Is Back on Track

As we reported earlier this week, AWEA released its fourth quarter 2012 wind report. The executive summary is posted on the coalition’s web site and is linked here  AWEA Executive-Summary.

Last year was the wind industry’s best year ever — installing a record of 13,124 megawatts of generating capacity, leveraging $25 billion in private investment, and reaching 60,000 MW of wind capacity. The wind industry also was the first source of generating capacity. This is a remarkable achievement.

Here’re some of the state highlights:

Top states for new capacity installations in 2012 include:

1. Texas (1,826 MW)

2. California (1,656 MW)

3. Kansas (1,440 MW)

4. Oklahoma (1,127 MW)

5. Illinois (823 MW) 6. Iowa (814 MW)

7. Oregon (640 MW)

8. Michigan (611 MW)

9. Pennsylvania (550 MW)

10. Colorado (496 MW)

Of these, top states by population for new capacity installations in 2012 include:

1. Kansas (0.5 kW per capita)

2. Oklahoma and Iowa (0.3 kW per capita)

Iowa surpassed the 5,000 MW marking in 2012. In one year, Kansas doubled its total installation with the new 2012 capacity. With Michigan’s 611 MW of new capacity they are close from the Gigawatt Club, just 12 MW shy of 1,000 MW, which is remarkable because how quickly the state went from minimal development to a booming market. Illinois is hub for projects, as well as manufacturing, with half of Illinois’ new wind capacity being delivered to Tennessee Valley Authority, which is great news as more and more wind energy flows into the southern region through purchase power agreements. Illinois and Iowa also installed the first concrete wind towers in 2012 — a break through allowing the industry to build taller towers while managing transportation and cost challenges.

 

Strong renewable energy policies in your states are the foundation for the industry’s growth, especially in California and through out the Midwest. And supporting those policies is one of the coalition’s objectives this year as Governor Kitzhaber and Governor Daugaard mention in their transition letter to membership.

 

It is also good to report that re-hiring of wind employees is beginning. The last few months of 2012 were very difficult for all of us as the governors worked to make the case to extend the production tax credit while wind energy workers were being laid off in their states. Here’s a sample of what wind industry developers are saying just a few weeks after the extension of the PTC was approved:

 

• First Wind CEO, Paul Gaynor, tells Electric Light and Power, “We are planning to substantially expand our portfolio – by as much as 50 percent or more – with several projects starting construction by the end of 2013. That will mean jobs and investment, and consumers will be getting clean energy at a competitive price.”

 

• The Prairie Breeze Wind Energy Center near Elgin in northern Nebraska, which represents a $350 million capital investment and could create 300 construction jobs (WOWT Channel 6, Omaha, NE).

 

• The Broken Bow Wind project near Kearney, Neb., where Midwest Energy will proceed with construction on an additional 75 megawatts (MW) of capacity with the passage of the PTC as ‘the last remaining stumbling block’ (Kearney Hub).

 

• The 300-megawatt Pleasant Valley Wind Farm in Mower County, Minnesota. “It is one of the largest wind farm developments in the state of Minnesota with advanced permitting and [is] ready to build,” RES Americas Vice President of Development Joe DeVito told the press (Austin Daily Herald).

 

• Geronimo Wind Energy’s wind farm in Courtenay, North Dakota, which could be sized between 100 and 200 MW and range from about 58 to 120 turbines. The total cost of the project would range between $200 million and $350 million (Prairie Business Magazine).

 

• St. Louis based companies Emerson, electric component maker ABB and carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek. As the St. Louis Business Journal reported, “Zoltek was already ‘well on the way to a record year in fiscal 2012’ thanks to its growth in the wind energy industry, according to chairman and chief executive Zsolt Rumy. The extension of the Production Tax Credit will help Zoltek keep that momentum going in 2013, Rumy said. ‘This is definitely helpful because investors were holding back on projects to see what would happen.'”