Iowa hits 20 percent wind threshold
The American Wind Energy Association reports that during the second quarter Iowa’s wind generating capacity reached 20 percent of the state’s total electricity network.
A major boost came from MidAmerican Energy’s new 594 megawatt wind farm near Adair, the first of three major wind projects the Des Moines utility plans for this year.
MidAmerican alreaedy had 1,330 megawatts of wind generation capacity on its system. The utility’s peak loads this summer have totaled about 4,700 megawatts.
The second largest wind generator in Iowa is Florida-based NextEra, which has about 800 megawatts of wind farm capacity mostly in central and northern Iowa.
The American Wind Energy Association said 7,354 megawatts of new capacity was under construction nationally by July 1, more than at any time since the third quarter of 2008.
In addition to Iowa’s project, other additions include 845 MW in Oregon; 802 MW in California; 769 MW in Oklahoma; 611 MW in Illinois; 501 MW in Colorado; and 492 MW in Texas.
“Most regions across the U.S. have more under construction activity today than installed in all of 2010,” said Elizabeth Salerno, AWEA’s Chief Economist and Director of Industry Data Analysis.
The AWEA warned that the future of wind energy is closely tied to extension of the production tax credits given builders of wind projects.
“Project activity and orders for 2013 and beyond are scant because of the lack of a predictable business environment, causing layoffs and even bankruptcies in American manufacturing plants and the supply chain,” said AWEA in a statement.
“These struggles for U.S. wind manufacturers will only worsen if Congress were to allow the tax credit to expire.”
Iowa is the nation’s second largest wind capacity market, with more than 4,000 MW installed. Texas, with almost 9,000 MW, is the largest wind generator in the U.S.
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