Tuesday, March 07, 2017

Five Midwestern states get at least 21% of electricity from wind power, led by Iowa at 36.6%

Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota now get at least a fifth of their electricity from wind energy, Daniel Cusick reports for Climatewire. Data from the U.S. Energy Information Administration shows that Iowa gets 36.6 percent of its electricity from wind, South Dakota 30.3 percent, Kansas 29.6 percent, Oklahoma 25.1 percent and North Dakota 21.5 percent. The next highest state is Vermont, 15.4 percent. The U.S. total is 5.5 percent.
By virtue of having smaller populations, Iowa, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota and South Dakota "now claim cleaner power portfolios than many larger, greener states—including California, where renewable energy has long been a government priority," Cusick writes. From 2015 to 2016 wind share's total electricity generation grew by 6.7 percent in Oklahoma, 5.5 percent in Kansas and 5.1 percent in Iowa. Texas leads the nation in overall wind power produced, but its overall share is 12.6 percent, placing it 11th behind the top five states and Colorado, Idaho, Maine, Minnesota and Vermont.

Last year, Iowa became the first state to generate more than one third of its electricity from wind.

"According to EIA, turbines operating in 40 states generated a record total of 226 million megawatt-hours of electricity during 2016, approximately four times the amount of power produced by solar panels and approaching what hydroelectric dams generated," Cusick writes.

The American Wind Energy Association said in a statement, "With 99 percent of wind turbines located in rural areas, wind power's steady growth as a share of the nation's electricity supply has been accompanied by a surge of investment in rural America," estimated at $13.8 billion last year.

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