Oregon fares well in wind report, outlook not so certain
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
The PaTu Wind Facility, in Wasco, features utility-scale wind turbines used by the likes of Pacific Power to power homes and businesses as part of the company's Blue Sky renewable energy program. Oregon's wind power capacity jumped dramatically during 2012, according to a new Energy Department report.
Oregon has earned good marks in a new Energy Department study on wind capacity.
The U.S. agency's 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report found that in 2012, Oregon installed 640 megawatts of new wind power capacity. The state has the capacity for about 3,150 megawatts of wind power, the fifth highest in the country.
Oregon can derive about 13 percent of its electricity from wind energy. The industry backed between 3,000 and 4,000 direct and indirect jobs last year. All told, the wind sector employs more than 80,000 American workers.
Oregon's percentage trails Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota, all of which derive more than 20 percent of their residents' power through the wind.
Wind energy became the top new source of electricity generation for the first time last year. The mode represented 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounted for $25 billion in U.S. investment.
President Obama has called for wind power and other renewable electricity forms to double the amount of energy they provide by 2020.
More than 13 gigawatts of new wind power capacity were added to the U.S. grid last year.
The bad news: The 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report's authors added that 2013 is expected to be a slow year for new capacity additions. Officials blame continued policy uncertainty and project development timelines. The outlook could improve in 2014 but become less certain beyond 2015, according to the Energy Department.
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