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Wind Turbines Provide More Energy than Any Other Renewable

Wind turbines are responsible for more than one-third of the electricity-generating capacity that has been added since 2007.

Wind Turbine 590b412a5f755

According to a recent report from the U.S. Energy Information Administration, wind generators accounted for eight percent of the operating electric generating capacity in the United States in 2016, more than any other renewable technology. Wind turbines have contributed more than one-third of the nearly 200 gigawatts (GW) of utility-scale electricity generating capacity added since 2007.

The increase in wind development over the past decade reflects a combination of improved wind turbine technology, increased access to transmission capacity, state-level renewable portfolio standards, and federal production tax credits and grants.

More than half of U.S. wind capacity is located in five states: Texas, Iowa, Oklahoma, California, and Kansas. In three states—Iowa, Kansas, and Oklahoma—wind makes up at least 25 percent of in-state utility-scale generating capacity. As of December 2016, nine U.S. states had no operational utility-scale wind facilities: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Virginia.

Texas alone accounts for almost a quarter of total U.S. wind capacity, and electricity generated by these turbines made up 13 percent of Texas' total electricity output in 2016.

The average wind generating facility in the United States consists of about 50 turbines. However, the Alta Wind Energy Center in Kern County, California, is the largest wind power site in the United States with 586 turbines and a combined 1,548 megawatts (MW) of capacity across several separate projects.

Until late 2016, all U.S. wind capacity was on land. The first U.S. offshore wind project, Block Island Wind Farm, began commercial operation off the coast of Rhode Island in December 2016, with a generating capacity of 29.3 MW.

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