Oklahoma, Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota now generate 30 percent of their power from wind, according to the American Wind Energy Association’s annual market report.
New Mexico ranked 15th on the list of biggest wind generators, but it’s the biggest mover – 570 MW of wind was installed there in 2017, more than any other state. New Mexico now has 1,682 MW of installed capacity, or over 13 percent of the state’s total electricity generation.
However, total wind installation fell for the second year in a row. AWEA reported 7 GW of new wind turbines, down from 8.2 GW the year before.
Alex Morgan, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance, said the 2015 extension of a wind tax credit is the likely culprit, as that eased the pressure to build as quickly as possible. He’s now predicting another wind development peak in 2020 as developers look to take advantage of the new deadline.
AWEA reported 7,017 MW of wind turbines were brought online last year, bringing the total installed capacity in the United States to 88,973 MW. Just under 54,000 wind turbines now operate in 41 states, Guam and Puerto Rico.
The report noted that the cost of wind energy has declined by two thirds since 2009. Additionally, wind turbine technician is one of the country’s two fastest-growing jobs, along with solar installer, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.