Dave DeWitte, CR Gazette –
Iowa remained one of the leading states in a rapidly expanding wind power industry in 2011, according to a trade group’s annual report.
Wind power capacity rose 31 percent, or 6,816 megawatts, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s 2011 Annual Market Report. Total wind generating capacity increased to 49,916 megawatts, with 8,300 megawatts still under construction entering 2012.
A record five states led by South Dakota received more than 10 percent of their electricity from wind. Wind energy accounted for 22.3 percent of the electric production in South Dakota and 18.8 percent in second-lace Iowa.
Kansas led the states in new wind energy installations, with 1,1889 megawatts, followed by Texas with 857 megawatts. Iowa ranked seventh with 470 megawatts.
Iowa was also among the leaders in wind energy jobs, with an estimated 6,000 to 7,000 jobs – just ahead of Texas and Illinois.
The industry group continued to urge Congress to extend the Production Tax Credit, a renewable energy tax incentive scheduled to expire in 2012. It sai wind power installations dropped between 73 and 93 percent in past years following expiration, leading to major job losses in the industry.