Oregon No. 4 state for new wind projects
By Christina Williams
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Wind power accounted for 8 percent of Oregon's energy portfolio in 2011, according to a new report from the American Wind Energy Association.
The American Wind Energy Association released its 2011 market report this week, including a ranking of the top 10 states for wind projects under construction in the coming year. Oregon ranked fourth on that list with 640 megawatts of new wind power under construction.
All of that capacity will come from one giant wind farm: Shepherds Flat. With project backers including Google and the U.S. government, Shepherds Flat is expected to generate 840 megawatts of wind power when it's fully built out.
Kansas is the state with the most wind farms under construction this year. The state expects to add 1,189 megawatts of wind.
In total, the U.S. has 46,916 megawatts of installed wind capacity which generates 2.9 percent of the country's electricity needs — enough to power more than 10 million homes.
Oregon gets 8 percent of its power from wind, securing it the No. 8 spot on a list of top states ranked by the percentage of their energy portfolio supplied by wind power. South Dakota tops that list with 22 percent of its power coming from wind.
The lengthy AWEA report, which is available only to members, also ranked states by number of wind jobs. Oregon ranked 10th with between 2,000 and 3,000 jobs. Iowa took the top spot with as many as 7,000 wind jobs.
Iberdrola, which has its North American headquarters in Portland, was ranked No. 2 among the top wind project owners in the U.S. with a 10 percent share of the market.
MidAmerican Energy, the parent company of PacifiCorp, is the top utility owner of wind power with 2,909 megawatts of capacity in its portfolio. Portland General Electric was ranked No. 10 on that list with 450 megawatts of capacity.
Vestas turbines power 29 percent of the new wind projects that went live in 2011, giving them the second largest share in the market, close behind GE Energy which grabbed 29.5 percent of the market. Vestas also has a North American headquarters in Portland.
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