Wind keeps racking up big stats.
Wind generates 25% of Iowa's power! Three states--Iowa, Kansas, and South Dakota--get 20% or more of their power from wind. Incredibly, wind in 9 states will produce 12% or more of their power.
All those facts and more are from the United States Department of Energy in its 2012 Wind Market Report.
Texas and California rank 1 and 2 in total installed wind capacity, with Texas doubling second place California. Our two most populous states will soon get 10% of their power from wind.
What is driving wind to new records more than anything in the US and around the world? Falling costs, below $2 per watt in the USA to build a wind farm, and improving production are making wind competitive with fossil fueled electricity in more and more locations.
Another advantage for wind is its almost fixed cost of production over 25 years of operation. Just about all the costs of wind are the initial capital and construction costs, because the fuel is free as well as zero pollution. Though wind has its critics, the zero pollution quality of wind continues to make it popular with citizens and voters.
On the strengths of strong economics and popular support, wind marches forward. Quite amazingly, it will soon provide 5% of America's total power and generate 10% of America's power in about 10 years. To reach those big numbers, wind has and must continue to grow rapidly.
Yet, despite wind's rapid growth, it takes about a decade for wind to gain about 5 percentage points of the huge electricity market. And so wind's success also reminds just how long it takes to shift even 10% of the enormous power consumption of the United States.