Wind farm construction has been buoyed by a new round of federal tax credits combined with better technology that's allowing wind turbines to generate more power. That is about 8 percent of the total USA wind capacity and enough to power about 3.3 million average-size homes. "So, the USA wind industry - we're answering that call, and we're answering it today, not tomorrow".
Further, by the end of President Donald Trump's current four-year term, American wind power will support over 248,000 wind-related jobs, including those in communities surrounding wind farms and factories, says AWEA, citing recent analysis from Navigant Consulting. Most of the new wind farms are large projects of 200 MW or more. About 4,000 people work in the wind power industry in Minnesota.
Minnesota continues to be one of the top wind power states in 2016, and Xcel Energy the nation's top wind energy utility.
Kansas, which derived close to 30 percent of its electricity from wind past year along with Iowa, Oklahoma, and the Dakotas comprise the five most wind-dependent states in the nation - and each are traditional Republican strongholds.
The report, released in Minnesota, also highlighted the benefit that wind energy is having in the Upper Midwest, where 26% of Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas' energy production is being supplied by wind, supporting more than 18,000 jobs and providing $28 billion in private investment into the region.
Xcel Energy serves eight states from Minnesota to Texas and now has more than 6,600 megawatts of wind energy on its system companywide. "Xcel Energy's pioneering leadership shows how we can use even more of our great American wind resources while creating new jobs throughout the heartland". North Dakota was fifth at 21.5 percent; South Dakota was second at 30.3 percent.
Also joining AWEA for today's release were Ben Fowke, CEO of Xcel Energy; Chris Brown, president of Vestas Americas and AWEA's board chair; and Doug Fredrickson, vice president of Blattner Energy. Installing over 8,000MW of new wind power for a second straight year, the U.S. industry invested over US$ 14 billion in 2016 in new wind farms built in rural America, and now supports 102,500 jobs.
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