SD tops in electricity from windNew report says state can generate 22 percent of its power from turbines
By: Staff reports, The Daily Republic
South Dakota ranks first in the nation for the amount of its own electricity it can produce from wind energy, according to a new report from the U.S. Department of Energy.
The 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report, released this week, finds that in 2011 South Dakota could generate about 22 percent of its electricity from wind energy, which was tops in the nation.
“This report shows that America can lead the world in the global race to manufacture and deploy clean energy technologies,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said in a news release about the report.
Nationally, wind power represented 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions in the United States last year and accounted for $14 billion in new investment.
The percentage of wind equipment made in America also grew. Nearly 70 percent of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year — including wind turbines and components like towers, blades, gears, and generators — is now from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35 percent in 2005.
The report found that in 2011, roughly 6,800 megawatts of new wind power capacity was added to the U.S. grid, a 31 percent increase from 2010 installations. The United States’ wind power capacity reached 47,000 MW by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50,000 MW, enough electricity to power 13 million homes annually or as many homes as in Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama and Connecticut combined. The country’s cumulative installed wind energy capacity grew 16 percent from 2010, and has increased more than 18-fold since 2000. The report also finds that six states, including South Dakota, now meet more than 10 percent of their total electricity needs with wind power.
The growth in the industry has also led directly to more jobs throughout a number of sectors and at factories across the country. According to industry estimates, the wind sector employs 75,000 American workers, including workers at manufacturing facilities up and down the supply chain, as well as engineers and construction workers who build and operate the wind farms. In South Dakota, the industry supported 1,000 to 2,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2010.
The report found that 2013 may see a slowing of domestic wind energy deployment due in part to the possible expiration of federal renewable energy tax incentives. The Production Tax Credit (PTC), which provides a tax credit to wind producers in the United States and has helped drive the industry’s growth, is set to expire at the end of this year.
The wind industry projects that 37,000 jobs could be lost if the PTC expires. Working in tandem with the PTC, the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit provides a 30 percent investment credit to manufacturers who invest in capital equipment to make components for clean energy projects in the United States.