US adds record 13GW wind in 2012

The US installed a record 13.12GW of wind capacity in 2012, as developers rushed projects to completion before the scheduled expiry of the industry’s key incentive, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The industry group says its data shows the US now has 60GW of wind capacity representing a $120bn investment.

The previous record year was 2009 when 10GW of capacity was added. Installations totalled 6.68GW in 2011.

Fourth-quarter capacity additions were also a national record at 8.38GW, more than double the previous high of 4.11GW in the same 2009 period. The federal production tax credit, which was due to run out at the end of 2012, was given a last-gasp reprieve for a further year.

AWEA reports that wind energy became the number one source of new US electricity generating capacity for the first time, accounting for about 42%. Thirty nine of 50 states now have wind installations.

Texas continues as the leading wind state with 12.21GW capacity, followed by California with 5.54GW; Iowa, 5.13GW; Illinois, 3.56GW; Oregon, 3.15GW; Oklahoma, 3.13GW; Minnesota, 2.98GW; Washington, 2.81GW; Kansas, 2.71GW and Colorado, 2.3GW.