Iowa No. 2 in total wind energy installations
Iowa ranks No. 2 in the country behind Texas in terms of total megawatts of wind power capacity installed.
Texas leads the way with a total of 9,410 megawatts (MW) installed, and Iowa has installed 3,670 MW, according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) 2009 fourth-quarter report. Iowa ranked third with 879 MW of new installations in 2009, behind Indiana (905 MW) and Texas (2,292 MW).
As a whole, the U.S. wind energy industry broke a record by installing nearly 10,000 MW of new generating capacity in 2009. That's enough to serve more than 2.4 million homes.
Before the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the industry had anticipated that in 2009, wind power development might drop by as much as 50 percent from 2008 levels. But the act, according to AWEA, helped prevent a drop, and installations increased to 9,922 MW in 2009 from 8,425 MW in 2008.
The new installations increased the nation's wind plant fleet by 39 percent and brought the total wind power generating capacity in the United States to 35,169 MW. Combined, the U.S. wind projects generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of 9.7 million homes. The wind power fleet will also help avoid the production of an estimated 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, which is the equivalent of removing 10.5 million cars from the roads.
Still, wind turbine manufacturing is down compared to last year's levels, and AWEA CEO Denise Bode called that "the canary in the mine."
"We need to set hard targets, in the form of a national Renewable Electricity Standard, in order to provide the necessary stability for manufacturers to expand their U.S. operations and to seize the historic opportunity we have today to build up a thriving renewable energy industry," she said in a release.