The United States continues to be a global leader in wind energy, although China is quickly outpacing America in installed wind capacity, according to new data released today by the U.S. Department of Energy. The United States is No. 2 globally in total installed capacity, while China leads with nearly 50 percent more wind energy production.
Among the states, Iowa led in the percentage of its electricity demand met through wind, with 27.3 percent of electricity in Iowa generated from wind,according to the 2013 Wind Technologies Market Report.
Total installed wind power capacity in the United States now stands at 61 gigawatts, which meets nearly 4.5 percent of electricity demand in an average year, according to the report. The report also found that wind energy prices - particularly in the interior region of the United States - are at an all-time low, with utilities selecting wind as a cost-saving option.
Growth in the U.S. wind power market slowed dramatically in 2013, however, with only 1,087 megawatts of capacity added - or just 8 percent of the capacity added in the record year of 2012. By comparison, China added more than 16,000 MW of wind capacity last year to reach more than 91 gigawatts of installed capacity.
Cumulative U.S. wind power capacity grew by less than 2 percent in 2013. Last year wind energy companies invested $1.8 billion in new wind power installations. The slowdown in growth is attributed to the discontinuation of the federal Production Tax Credit program, which was not renewed after ending at the end of 2013.
Wind turbines in distributed applications accounted for more than 80 percent of all wind turbines installed in the United States last year, according to a separatereport released today by the Energy Department. Distributed wind is used to offset all or a portion of local energy consumption near small turbines, as opposed to power that's generated at large wind farms and distributed by transmission lines to distant end users.
Texas, Minnesota and Iowa retained their positions as the three states with the most distributed wind capacity deployed since 2003. Cumulatively, Iowa has the largest cumulative small wind capacity, with nearly 15 MW of distributed wind installations; a total of 14 states now each have more than 10 MW of distributed wind capacity.