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Apr 16, 2012

Texas Still Windpower King

From the Fort Worth Star-Telegram

Wind power accounted for a third of all new electricity generation capacity added in the U.S. last year, the American Wind Energy Association said Thursday.

The industry group’s annual report said 6,816 megawatts were added, boosting installed capacity by 31 percent to 46,916 megawatts.

Texas remained the No. 1 state in wind power, with 10,300 megawatts installed, the association said. Iowa was No. 2, with 4,300 megawatts, and California No. 3, with 3,900.

The association said Texas had 857 megawatts under construction at the start of 2012, second only to Kansas’ 1,189. The group also said Texas has 6,000 to 7,000 jobs related to wind power.

Most of the state’s wind capacity is in West Texas, but the Gulf Coast is also gaining installations.

About 3 percent of U.S. power came from wind last year, and the industry wants to increase that to 20 percent by 2030. South Dakota led in terms of the percentage of electricity produced, at 22.3 percent, followed by Iowa at 18.8 percent.

Wind power produced 6.9 percent of all Texas electricity last year and 8.5 percent of power on the grid operated by the Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which serves North Texas.

“This shows what wind power is capable of: building new projects, powering local economies and creating jobs,” association CEO Denise Bode said.

Wind development is also being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit, or PTC, which leverages as much as $20 billion a year in private investment, Bode said.

The tax credit is set to expire at year’s end unless Congress renews it.

Staff writer Jim Fuquay contributed to this report, which includes material from Bloomberg News.