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Blowin' in the wind: California jumps to 2nd in U.S. in wind power

April 11, 2013|By Ronald D. White
  • Giant turbines are powered by strong winds during sunset in Palm Springs last month. California installed enough new turbines in 2012 to climb to second place in the U.S. in wind power generation.
Giant turbines are powered by strong winds during sunset in Palm Springs… (Kevork Djansezian / Getty…)

California installed so many new wind turbines in 2012 that it vaulted into second place behind Texas in the amount of wind power it produces, according to a new annual report from the American Wind Energy Assn.

California also ranks second in the U.S. in the amount of employment associated with the wind industry, with more than 7,000 jobs, the AWEA said.

Nationally, wind energy production grew 28% in the U.S. last year in what AWEA describes as the industry's best year to date.

"We had an incredibly productive year in 2012," said Rob Gramlich, interim chief executive of AWEA. "It really showed what this industry can do and the impact we can have with a continued national commitment to renewable energy."

California wind projects installed 1,656 MW of power in 2012, which was second only to Texas, which added 1,826 MW.

That pushed California wind power to 5,544 MW, which dropped Iowa (5,133 MW) to third place in the U.S.

Texas generates more wind power than any other state in the U.S., with 12,214 MW.

Readers interested in getting more information about the report can download the executive summary here.

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