Wind industry announces boom year, crowns Xcel utility leader

20 Avril, 2017, 19:03 | Author: Cyril Hebras
  • Duke Energy  Schneider Electric
A rendition displaying what a microgrid would contain

While new wind turbines are going up, many existing turbines are producing more energy, thanks to longer blades, association CEO Tom Kiernan said. According to the 2016 annual market report, wind now pays over US$ 245 million per year in land-lease payments to local landowners, often farmers and ranchers.

TechWorld says that the report comes after a decrease of 13% from 2015 to 2016 on the average capital cost of solar power projects of new construction, while the drop for on-shore wind and off-shore was 11.5% and 10% respectively.

CEO Ben Fowke said the combination of technological improvements and state and federal policies have made wind energy more attractive.

Wind provided 17.3 percent of Colorado's energy - the seventh highest percentage in the country, according to the report.

The leading state in 2016 for wind power was by far Texas, which produced 57,551 megawatts, enough power for 5.32 million homes. And with utilities and major American brands - such as like General Motors, 3M and Target - continuing to buy large amounts of wind power through long-term contracts, the demand for wind keeps expanding, the report adds. "With stable policy in place, we're on the path to reliably supply 10 percent of USA electricity by 2020". About 4,000 people work in the wind power industry in Minnesota.

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On that note, domestic wind-related manufacturing jobs grew 17% to over 25,000 US factory jobs, according to the report, which adds that three new factories opened in 2016 to begin supplying the wind industry, and at least five more plants expanded their facilities.

Nearly all wind farms are built in rural areas and 84 percent of wind capacity installed in the last four years was built in states that voted for President Trump, the report said. AWEA named Xcel Energy the nation's top utility wind energy provider, a position it has held for more than a decade. The upper Midwest had especially high shares of wind generation, with wind providing 36.6 percent of Iowa's electricity, the largest share of any state. Wind now supplies 26% of Minnesota, Iowa and the Dakotas' electricity production - in turn, supporting over 18,000 wind jobs and $28 billion in private investment in the region. "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".

Xcel Energy serves eight states from Minnesota to Texas and now has more than 6,600 megawatts of wind energy on its system companywide. Doug Fredrickson, vice president of Blattner Energy, moderated the event.

"Today more than ever we hear the call from the President to bring American jobs back", Brown said.

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