Top 10: U.S. States with Installed Wind Capacity

Source: Kevin Smead, Energy Digital • Posted: Thursday, August 14, 2014

The American Wind Energy Association released its U.S. Wind Industry Second Quarter 2014 Market Report this week and we looked at its top 10 with installed wind capacity. The wind energy industry in the U.S. is currently in a growth stage and while a majority of states have wind installations, the top spot might surprise you.

10. Colorado (2,332 MW)
Colorado is up-and-coming in the wind power market. The state has an aggressive renewable energy portfolio and requires that 30 percent of the state’s electricity has to come from renewable energy by 2020. In 2013, wind power accounted for 13.8 percent of electricity generated in the state.

9. Washington (2,808 MW)
Washington has a number of wind projects, driven by Initiative 937, in which electric utilities serving more than 25,000 customers to generate 15 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2020. Its newest project, the Lower Snake River Wind Project, pushed the state over the 2,800 mark.

8. Kansas (2,967 MW)
While you might think of windmills when you think of Kansas, that isn’t exactly the case anymore. Kansas has a huge potential for wind energy because of its position in America’s wind tunnel and it’s quickly being realized. The state has seen rapid growth in wind energy over the past few years and it’s certainly not slowing down.

7. Minnesota (3,035 MW)
At last measure in 2012, wind power accounted for 14.3 percent of electricity generated in the state. The CapX2020 project is driving wind farm production as it aims to improve capacity and reliability. As with the other states, the project has set a 2020 goal in seeing significant results from its efforts.

6. Oklahoma (3,134 MW)
Also situated in the wind tunnel, Oklahoma has great potential for wind energy. Thankfully, it’s taking advantage of it. The industry is driving economic growth in the state, providing jobs and infrastructure. In 2013, 14.8 percent of electricity generated in the state came from wind energy.

5. Oregon (3,153 MW)
Much of Oregon’s wind energy is situated in the rural east of the state, as well as on the Columbia River Gorge. Oregon’s wind industry has strong support from the state government, with SB 838 mandating that by 2025, 25 percent of utilities’ electrical sales come from renewable energy.

4. Illinois (3,568 MW)
Wind farms in Illinois provided 4.7 percent of the state’s electricity in 2013. Despite this, wind energy has increased exponentially since 2003, when the first wind farm was installed. Though the state started with 50 MW of generating capacity, it’s currently pushing 3,600.

3. Iowa (5,177 MW)
While it’s no longer in the number-one spot, Iowa is still top 3. Iowa is a major player in wind energy, with more than a quarter of the state’s electricity coming from wind power. There are several key factors that make Iowa a wind leader, including its lucrative tax credit and mandated purchasing for utilities.

2. California (5,829 MW)
It’s not surprising that California is a leader in any renewable energy market. The rapid growth of the industry has been surprising, though. Since 2002, wind capacity in the state has doubled. The industry began in the 1980s has a number of massive installations, including the 1020 MW Alta Wind Energy Center.

1. Texas (12,753 MW)
Texas is the clear leader in wind energy, and is becoming so worldwide. With more than double the wind energy than California, Texas is capitalizing on wind energy. In only a few years, Texas will potentially be synonymous with wind, rather than oil—especially with its 40 plus projects current underway.