The United States continues to be one of the world’s largest and fastest growing markets for wind power, and for the first time, the Department of Energy reports that wind energy became the top source of NEW U.S. electricity generation in 2012.
According to the DOE, wind power represented 43 percent of all new electric additions last year and accounted for $25 billion in U.S. investment.
Last year, over 13 gigawatts of new wind power capacity were added to the U.S. grid – nearly double the capacity deployed in 2011. The expansion enabled America’s total wind power capacity to surpass 60 gigawatts at the end of 2012… enough capacity to power more than 15 million homes annually.
Since 2000, America’s installed wind energy capacity has increased more than 22-fold. And the proportion of towers, blades, and gears made in America also has increased dramatically. The report estimates seventy-two percent of wind turbine components installed in the U.S. last year were made by domestic manufacturers, nearly tripling the 25 percent reported in 2006 and 2007.
According to industry estimates, the wind sector employs more than 80,000 people, including workers at manufacturing facilities throughout the supply chain.
On a cumulative basis, Texas remains the clear leader with more than 12 gigawatts installed at the end of 2012 -- more than twice as much as California, the next-highest state. But nine states now rely on wind power for more than 12 percent of their total annual electricity consumption – and residents of Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas now rely on the wind for more than 20 percent of their electricity.