The U.S. saw 1.695 GW of wind energy capacity installed in the first quarter, with 788 wind turbines added in 17 states, bringing the country's total installed wind power capacity to 48.611 GW, according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) first quarter market report.
The wind energy industry installed 52% more capacity in the first quarter than it did in the same quarter in 2011. Continuing a trend that became evident at the end of last year, under-construction numbers were also exceptionally strong in the first quarter, clocking in at 8.916 GW, with 2.284 GW of that total starting construction just this quarter. Wind projects are currently under construction in 31 states and Puerto Rico.
California (370 MW), Oregon (308 MW), Texas (254 MW), Washington (127 MW) and Pennsylvania (121 MW) were the top five states for new wind power additions.
The following states had the largest growth in the first quarter on a percentage basis: New Hampshire (388%), Arizona (72%), Massachusetts (17%), Pennsylvania (15%) and Oregon (12%).
The top states for wind projects under construction were Kansas (1.34 GW), Texas (914 MW), Oklahoma (894 MW), California (777 MW) and Illinois (705 MW).
For the nation to continue its wind power growth, however, policy support is imperative.
"American wind power contributed 35 percent of all new electric generating capacity between 2007 and 2011, and today it employs 75,000 people," notes AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "The choice is clear: With policy certainty, we'll grow to 100,000 jobs in just a few years. Without it, 37,000 jobs will disappear, particularly in U.S. wind manufacturing."