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US Adds 2,800 MW of Wind Energy in 1Q 2009

wind-turbines-on-hill2More than 2,800 megawatts of wind energy industry was installed in the United States over the of the first quarter of 2009. That’s enough to power 816,000 homes, according to a press release from the American Wind Energy Association.

New projects in 15 states now bring total wind power generating capacity in the U.S. to 28,206 MW, or the same amount required to serve 8 million homes and avoid emissions of 52 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, the  release stated.

The wind industry should see even more growth now that Steven Chu, Energy Department Secretary, plans to provide $93 million from the American Recovery Act to support wind projects, according to a press release.

Of those funds, $45 million will go towards wind turbine drivetrain R&D and testing. Another $24 million will go to universities and industry to fund wind power research. The private sector will get $14 million to put towards advancing technology. And the National Wind Technology Center in Colorado will get $10 million.

The American Wind Energy Association just released its first quarter of 2009 report. The association also provides a map and list of wind energy projects here.

Kansas and New York now have joined the wind power “gigawatt” state club. The following nine states have surpassed that plateau:

  • Texas – 7,907 MW
  • Iowa – 2,883 MW
  • California – 2,653 MW
  • Minnesota – 1,804 MW
  • Washington – 1,479 MW
  • Oregon – 1,363 MW
  • New York – 1,261 MW
  • Colorado – 1,068 MW
  • Kansas – 1,014 MW

In Texas, the Roscoe wind project eventually will become the nation’s largest operation. Recently, 584.5 MW of wind generating power was installed, and soon another 197 MW will come on line.

A new report states that Kansas could easily become the nation’s largest wind exporter. The state has enough windy areas to generate 19,000 MW of electricity by 2030, if enough projects are put in place, according to this article on Forbes.com.

But for now, Indiana is adding wind power at the fastest percentage rate. Recently, a 400 MW project was completed there. Here are state’s adding wind projects the fastest, as a percentage of existing capacity:

  • Indiana – 75 percent
  • Maine – 55 percent
  • Nebraska – 53 percent
  • Idaho – 49 percent
  • New York – 34 percent

Twenty-four states opened, expanded or announced new wind turbine and component manufacturing facilities in 2008, according to an annual study by the association.

Recently, members of the Green Power Market Development Group said they had purchased 1,000 megawatts worth of renewable energy over the past nine years, including wind.

More wind turbines should be available after Aeronautica Windpower LLC, Plymouth, Mass., signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Norwin A/S of Denmark to manufacture new, commercial-size wind turbines in the U.S.

With the first turbines expected to ship later this year, the plant represents the first U.S. owned company that will build ‘sub-megawatt’ class (101 to 1000 kilowatts) wind turbines domestically, according to a press release.

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