U.S. wind power topped 4% of the U.S. power grid for the first time last year and has delivered 30% of all new generating capacity for the last five years, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). In Iowa and South Dakota, wind power now exceeds 25% of total electricity production. In nine states, it provided more than 12% and, in 17 states, more than 5%.
Citing the latest data from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration, AWEA says wind power generated 4.13% of all the electricity in the country in 2013 – making it the fifth-largest electricity source in the U.S. That is enough to power 15.5 million American homes, which is equivalent of all the residential households in Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Kansas, Nebraska, Nevada and Ohio combined.
"Wind energy continues to make inroads as a major contributor to the U.S. power mix," says Elizabeth Salerno, AWEA's vice president of industry data and analysis. "The electricity generated by American wind power has more than tripled since 2008 not only due to significant growth in new wind projects, but also technology innovation leading to more productive wind turbines." According to AWEA, all renewable energy sources now deliver nearly 13% of the nation's electricity.
Texas, the state with the largest electricity load and the most installed wind capacity, also generated the most electricity from wind energy – over 35.9 million MWh, or enough to power 3.3 million homes. AWEA says ERCOT, the main electric grid in Texas, received 9.9% of its electrical generation from wind energy during 2013 and is on track to top 10% in the coming years, considering the 7 GW of new capacity now under construction in the state.
AWEA adds that the top states for installed wind capacity all set records in 2013 for the amount of electricity generated: Texas, Iowa, California and Oklahoma each generated enough electricity to power more than 1 million American homes.
The association notes that even more U.S. wind generation is on its way, as the industry started 2014 with a record 12 GW of project capacity under construction.