From: Andy Soos, ENN
Published May 27, 2011 11:00 AM

Wind in 2011

Some people like the concept of wind/renewable power. There are some who do not. Nevertheless society needs energy to run its desired lifestyle. So how are we in 2011 so far? The AWEA (American Wind Energy Association) indicated that the first quarter of 2011 saw over 1,100 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity installed -- more than double the capacity installed in the first quarter of 2010. The U.S. wind industry had 40,181 MW of wind power capacity installed at the end of 2010, with 5,116 MW installed in 2010 alone. The U.S. wind industry has added over 35% of all new generating capacity over the past 4 years, second only to natural gas, and more than nuclear and coal combined. Today, U.S. wind power capacity represents more than 20% of the world’s installed wind power. Today, the U.S. wind industry represents not only a large market for wind power capacity installations, but also a growing market for American manufacturing. Over 400 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. make components for wind turbines, and dedicated wind facilities that manufacture major components such as towers, blades and assembled nacelles can be found in every region.


The following are some recent US wind power capacity figures:

Total U.S. Utility-Scale Wind Power Capacity, Through 1st Quarter of 2011: 41,400 MW

U.S. Wind Power Capacity, Installed in 2010: 5,116 MW

U.S. Wind Power Capacity, Installed in 1st Quarter of 2011: 1,118 MW

U.S. Wind Power Capacity Under Construction as of 1st Quarter of 2011: 5,600 MW

U.S. Wind Power Capacity, Installed in Previous Years:
-2009: 10,010 MW
-2008: 8,336 MW
-2007: 5,258 MW

The first quarter’s 1,100 MW of new capacity came online in 12 different states. The states with the most capacity additions include: Minnesota (293 MW), Illinois (240 MW), Washington (151 MW), Idaho (119 MW) and Nebraska (81 MW). While three of these are in the Midwest, the west coast is the current leader in wind project activity, according to AWEA. A third of project under construction are in California, Oregon and Washington.

AWEA reports that the under-construction figure of 5,600 MW is nearly twice the megawatts that the industry reported at this time in both 2009 and 2010. Furthermore, the total wind capacity now stands at 41,400 MW—producing enough clean energy to supply 10 million American homes

The state of Iowa is continuing its tradition of leadership in wind energy and showcasing the state's forward-looking strategy to develop alternative energy sources.

Well on the path to generate 20 percent of its electricity from wind turbines, Iowa is receiving recognition from several key government and industry leaders who say Iowa will play an important role.

Finally the article photo illustrates one novel way of re-capturing some of the energy expended by vehicles moving at high speeds on our nations highways which is being proposed by an Arizona State University. Knowingly, air turbulence is generated by vehicles moving at speed particularly trucks and the proposal would involve mounting horizontal wind turbines above the roadway that would be driven by the moving air generated by the passing traffic. The electricity generated by spinning these turbines could be fed back into the grid. Analysis indicate that based on vehicle speeds of 70 mph each turbine could produce 9,600 kWh per year.

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