Minnesota, long a leader in wind power, has slipped from fifth to seventh place among states with the most capacity to generate electricity from the wind, a new industry report says.
The American Wind Energy Association said 2012 was the best year ever for U.S. wind turbine installations with $25 billion in investment overall, and surging development in states like Kansas and Oklahoma.
Minnesota added 267 megawatts of wind power in 2012, but still didn’t make the top 10 list for newly built wind projects because other states added more, the wind association said in its report released Thursday. One possible reason is that utilities in Minnesota are well on their way to meeting state mandates on renewable energy.
“Companies are going to where there is opportunity,” said Kelley Welf, a spokeswoman for Wind on the Wires, a St. Paul-based trade group.
Xcel Energy Inc., based in Minneapolis with operations in seven other states, remained the nation’s No. 1 wind power utility. And Minnesota was ranked fifth among states for share of electricity delivered by wind — 14.3 percent in 2012. Iowa was first, with 24.5 percent of its power coming from wind.
Texas and California, which have long been wind power leaders, remained the top two states in overall wind power output.
Developers across the country rushed to complete wind projects before the end of 2012 to qualify for an expiring federal tax credit.
Welf said Wind on the Wires and other groups are supporting legislation at the State Capitol that would require Minnesota power companies to get 40 percent of their power from wind and other renewable energy by 2030. Under current law, most state utilities must obtain 25 percent of their power from renewable sources by 2025.