U.S. wind power momentum up 40 percent from last year

Kansas during the second quarter because the fifth state in the country to pass a milestone in terms of wind power capacity.
By Daniel J. Graeber Follow @dan_graeber Contact the Author   |  July 28, 2017 at 6:47 AM
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July 28 (UPI) -- About half of the population in the state of Kansas could now be drawing energy from wind power as the U.S. sector gains momentum, an industry report showed.

A quarterly report from the American Wind Energy Association found the sector is gaining traction. Compared with last year, there were 40 percent more wind energy projects under construction or advancing through the development stage during the second quarter. Nation-wide, more than two dozen wind projects, representing a combined 3,841 megawatts, started construction or advanced toward construction during the second quarter.

With 178 MW of new wind power capacity coming online in the second quarter, Kansas became the fifth state in the nation to pass the 5,000 MW mark. That means about 1.5 million average homes in the state could draw power from wind energy, or about half the state's population, according to the AWEA's accounting.

"We don't intend to stop," Gov. Sam Brownback said in a statement. "Here's to the next 5,000 megawatts of wind energy capacity in Kansas and the jobs, businesses and private capital it brings to all parts of our great state."

The AWEA said most of the wind turbine construction was concentrated in the U.S. Midwest and Texas. This week, the renewable energy division of General Electric and Invenergy, the largest independent renewable energy company in North America, announced construction is under way for the Wind Catcher wind farm in the Oklahoma panhandle. Once operational, it will be the second largest in the world and largest in the United States, with 2,000 MW of peak capacity.

Offshore, Rhode Island last year became the first state in the nation to have a wind farm off its coast. In the second quarter, Maryland opened up its waters for offshore wind energy development.

"The path to unlocking America's full energy potential is clear with another strong jump in the number of wind projects moving forward," Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA, said.

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