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Minnesota adds wind farms, yet rank falls to No. 5

This news story was published on January 27, 2012.
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David Shaffer, Star Tribune, Minneapolis –

Minnesota slipped from fourth to fifth place among states with the most wind power last year even as the state’s number of wind farms climbed above 100.

A report released Thursday by the American Wind Energy Association said Illinois, after a surge of wind farm construction in 2011, is now ranked No. 4, up from seventh.

The top state based on overall wind turbine output was Texas, which had twice the amount of No. 2 Iowa. California was No. 3.

Illinois has just 10 megawatts more capacity than Minnesota, the equivalent of four or five wind turbines, according to the trade group’s fourth-quarter report.

Last year, Minnesota added 12 wind farms, for a total of 103, with 1,963 turbines overall, according to a state Commerce Department analysis of the data.

The wind industry association report said U.S. wind power installations grew 31 percent overall last year, gaining new footholds in Ohio and Nevada and staying strong in California, Illinois, Iowa and Kansas.

The association, which is urging Congress to extend wind power investment and production credits beyond 2012, said the data show that wind power is helping the economy.

“In hard economic times we’re creating jobs and delivering clean, affordable electricity,” Denise Bode, CEO of the association said in statement.

In Minnesota, one large wind farm was completed in the fourth quarter, Oak Glen in Steele County, for the Minnesota Municipal Power Association. Three installations of one or two turbines each also were completed, including the University of Minnesota’s Elos research turbine in Rosemount.

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