Minnesota continues to punch above its weight in generating electricity from the wind.
The state has the fourth-highest amount of capacity for power produced by wind turbines in the country, according to a new American Wind Energy Association report.
That's considerably higher than the ninth rank nationally the association gives Minnesota for its potential wind-generating capacity.
With turbines, mostly in the western part of the state, generating more than 1,800 megawatts of power, they collectively contribute as much electricity as Xcel Energy's Monticello and Prairie Island nuclear power plants combined.
Iowa is second only to Texas in the amount of installed wind capacity, with its turbines generating more than 3,000 megawatts of power. The Dakotas, despite their far greater wind potential, rank far behind, the association reported. California ranks third in the nation.
According to the association, total wind power capacity operating nationwide is more than 31,000 megawatts, generating enough electricity to power the equivalent of nearly 9 million homes.
The industry added more than 16,000 megawatts of power nationwide in the third quarter of this year, spurred in part by funding from the federal stimulus bill.
BOB VON STERNBERG