As part of its bid to renew the production tax credit (PTC) for the wind industry, which is widely acknowledged as crucial for its growth in 2013, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) released strong results for 2011.
The U.S. wind industry installed just over 6,810 megawatts (MW) in 2011, 31% higher than 2010, and has more than 8,300 MW under construction, setting the stage for a strong 2012.
Wind installations were strong in new states, such as Ohio and Illinois, and there was continued stength in top states, such as
California, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas.
South Dakota and Iowa now get 20% of their electricity from wind, and 30 states brought wind projects online in 2011.
The top five states in 2011: California (921 MW), Illinois (692 MW), Iowa (646 MW), Minnesota (542 MW) and Oklahoma.
"Traditional tax incentives are working. This tremendous activity is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) - which leveraged an average of more than $16 billion a year in private investment over the last several years and supported tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs," says Denise Bode, AWEA
AWEA points to a recent Navigant Consulting report which concludes if the PTC isn't renewed, investment will decline by nearly two-thirds and 37000 wind jobs will be lost. In contrast, with renewal, the industry will hit 100,000 American jobs
in just four years and 500,000 American jobs by 2030.
Bipartisan legislation has been introduced which would extend the PTC for four years by Reps Dave Reichert (R-WA) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR). It has 56 cosponsors including 13 Republicans.