Thursday, April 5, 2012

U.S. wind generation increased in 2011

Generation from wind turbines in the United States increased 27% in 2011 compared to 2010, continuing a trend of rapid growth. During the past five years capacity additions of wind turbines were the main driver of the growth in wind power output. As the amount of wind generation increases, electric power system operators have faced challenges with integrating increasing amounts of this intermittent generation source into their systems.

U.S. Wind Generation 2006 2011

From January to June 2011, 162 electric power generators were added in 36 states, for a total of 11,255 megawatts (MW) of new capacity. Of the ten states with the highest levels of capacity additions, most of the new capacity uses natural gas, coal, or wind. Capacity additions in these ten states total 8,504 MW, or 76% of the national total for the first six months of 2011.

U.S. Electric Generating Capacity Additions

Federal production tax credits and grants for electricity from certain renewable sources as well as State-level renewable portfolio standards have encouraged both capacity additions and increased generation from wind and other renewable sources.

Although increasing, electricity from wind contributed to less than 3% of total generation in 2011. Wind energy is the largest source of non-hydroelectric renewable electricity in the United States, contributing 61% of the nearly 200 terawatthours of non-hydroelectric renewable generation in 2011. 

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