Iowa Leads the Nation with 5.5% Wind Power, Says AWEA
Wind power provides 5.5% of the electricity generated in Iowa, making it the leading state for wind power generation on a percentage basis, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). AWEA's annual ranking of wind power leadership, released on April 2, continues to show Texas leading the states in terms of both total installed wind power capacity and the amount of new wind power capacity that was installed last year. In fact, the Sweetwater, Texas, wind plant more than doubled in capacity to 585 megawatts, pushing it from fifth to second place in the size rankings, while the state's Buffalo Gap wind facility expanded to 353 megawatts, placing it in fifth place for size. The recently completed 364-megawatt Capricorn Ridge wind facility, also in Texas, landed in fourth place, while last year's 401-megawatt Peetz Table Wind Energy Center in Colorado is the only non-Texas wind plant in the top five. See the AWEA press release and report (PDF 312 KB). Download Adobe Reader.
One result of the expanding use of wind power in the United States is the establishment of new wind turbine manufacturing facilities. In early March, Vestas Americas A/S opened its first U.S. manufacturing facility in Windsor, Colorado. Though the factory was originally designed to manufacture 1,200 wind blades per year, Vestas announced late last year that the production capacity will be expanded to 1,800 blades per year. The 400,000-square-foot facility is expected to create about 650 new local jobs. In addition, Nordic Windpower announced in March that it will build a wind turbine manufacturing facility in Pocatello, Idaho. Nordic is leasing a 42,786-square-foot facility that will start producing turbines this fall, ramping up to 20 turbines per month by September 2009. Nordic has the potential to quadruple the size of the facility to meet future expansion needs. See the press releases from Vestas (PDF 34 KB) and Nordic (PDF 25 KB).
Meanwhile, a company called 3TIER has launched a global wind map that is available for free viewing on the Internet. The map provides global wind data at an 80-meter height for a single year, but the free version is at a relatively low resolution. For the higher resolution generally needed for wind power developers, the company is currently selling maps for locations within the continental United States and plans to gradually expand its service to other countries over the next 20 months. See the 3TIER press release (PDF 131 KB) and its "firstlook" global wind mapping Web site.