News roundup: Top wind power states, Michigan's clean energy success, Xcel claims the top

17 April 2014 by Peebles Squire Peebles Squire

Today’s wind power news highlights the top wind generating states, Michigan’s clean energy success and #1 domestic wind provider, Xcel Energy.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that 80 percent of American wind power was generated by 12 key states:

  • EIA released wind data showing Texas was the top wind energy producer, with 36 million megawatt hours of electricity generated last year. Iowa was second with 15 million MWh. In total, 12 states combined to produce 134 million MWh of electricity from wind in 2013, the EIA said.
  • According to the American Wind Energy Association, wind energy has grown at an average rate of 30 percent during the past five years. The EIA said Tuesday that, nationwide, 167 million MWh of electricity came from wind energy last year -- a 19 percent increase from 2012. In total, wind energy increased its share of total U.S. power generation from 3.5 percent in 2012 to 4.1 percent last year.
  • Iowa led the nation in terms of wind energy's share of electricity on the grid with 27.4 percent, followed by South Dakota with 26 percent.

Michigan’s clean energy economy is impressive and growing, thanks to smart policies and an ambitious populace:

  • The promise of a clean, green and profitable energy future is beckoning Michigan’s entrepreneurs.  As many as 1,000 or more Michigan companies are now working on clean, green renewable energies in the areas of solar, wind, geothermal, energy storage and biomass, notes Liesl Eichler Clark, a clean energy and environmental consultant for 5 Lakes Energy LLC who also serves as vice president of policy and business engagement for the Michigan Energy Innovation Business Council.
  • The economic benefit of renewable energy continues to grow in Michigan, with millions in potential funding from the federal government; with advocacy, awareness and support from groups like NextEnergy in Detroit, 5 Lakes Energy LLC in Lansing and a mid-Michigan-based non-profit organization, the Great Lakes Renewable Energy Association (GLREA); and with the acumen of university-based business incubators provided to startups.
  • As of 2010, experts say the shift from regional reliance on aging coal-based power plants to natural gas and wind energy has been spurred by favorable natural gas prices and policy support for renewable energy. Others point out that policy support, especially in Michigan, remains critical.
  • Multiple projects — in such areas as energy efficient buildings, solar, combined heat and power, biomass and wind energy — have been completed or are in various stages of development.

Xcel took the top spot for 2013 as the country’s top wind energy provider, a position it has held for ten years:

  • “Xcel Energy is proud to be among the nation’s leaders in delivering affordable, clean energy from renewable sources,” said Ben Fowke, chairman, president and CEO of Xcel Energy . “We embraced wind energy early because it’s clean, cost-effective and will protect our customers against rising fuel prices in the future.”
  • “We’ve been fortunate to operate in states with both excellent wind resources and policies that support the fair and cost-effective development of wind power,” said Frank Prager, vice president for policy and strategy at Xcel Energy. “These things have enabled us to increase the use of renewable energy and to reduce emissions at a reasonable cost for customers.”
  • Also in 2013, the American Wind Energy Association recognized Xcel Energy as the Utility of the Year for the second time in five years for the company’s commitment to new wind energy acquisitions and progressive wind integration efforts.

Celebrate wind power and Earth Day during #IHeartRenewables week!

Be sure to check out this week’s other roundups:

Sources:

Daniel J. Graeber, “12 U.S. states account for 80 percent of wind power.” UPI. 16 April 2014.

Julie Baumkel, “Renewable Energy: Growing Michigan's Green Economy.” X-OLOGY. 16 April 2014.

Xcel Energy, “Xcel Energy Named No. 1 Wind Provider for 10th Consecutive Year.” MarketWatch. 16 April 2014.