Gains in wind power in the United States are coming up from the state level, with California among the leaders, an industry report found.
A report from the sidelines of a wind energy conference in California from the American Wind Energy Association finds the sector supports more than 100,000 jobs in the country. The state hosting the event is one of the national leaders in wind energy development and is on pace to get about half of its renewable energy needs met by wind power by 2030 — California.
Chris Brown, the president of wind power company Vestas Americas and departing head of the AWEA board, said the advancement is extending into Middle America.
“We’re lowering our costs, making the grid more stable, creating jobs in rural and Rust Belt America, and delivering value to utilities and major corporate customers,” he said in an address to the conference.
By state, Texas, the No. 1 oil producer in the United States, has the most installed wind power capacity on the grid and the most in the first quarter with 724 megawatts. In March, German energy company E.ON announced plans to build batteries in Texas that have the ability to store 20 megawatts of power from renewable energy resources. The company said wind farms are becoming more cost-competitive, with the budget for the Texas projects coming in below what similar projects cost in 2009.
The support does not extend to all shale-rich states in the south. Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin ended a tax credit for the wind industry this year, saying the renewable sector was competitive enough to rest on its laurels. Wind advocates in the state said a tax on future developments would get in the way of further advancements.
Speaking at the California wind conference, Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds said wind energy could spur economic development in her state.
“Our energy plan will help us continue to lead the way in wind energy and renewable fuels,” she said.
By the AWEA’s metrics, the $25 million per year in land lease payments for wind developments in Iowa makes it the equivalent of a “drought-resistant cash crop.”