The wind is at our backs now, with red states leading the way

While our President is not a fan of wind energy (having unsuccessfully sued the Scottish government to stop an offshore development) and has made some climate change is a hoax comments, rather quietly, renewable energy continues to move up the charts. Solar energy is going like gangbusters with double-digit growth in production and jobs, but wind energy has surpassed hydro energy as the largest form of renewable energy in the US. What is interesting, most of the growth in wind energy is occurring rather quietly in mostly red states.

From an American Energy News article last week:

Texas has more than 20 MW of installed wind capacity, or nearly a quarter of the market. Iowa is the second-biggest wind state, and Oklahoma overtook California for third place at the end of 2016.

 The first offshore wind project in the United States also came online in the fourth quarter, the 30 MW Block Island wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island.

More than 10,000 MW of wind is under construction in the United States, about half of which is in Texas. New Mexico’s wind industry is growing rapidly, with 1,300 MW under construction. Once completed, those projects will double the size of New Mexico’s installed wind capacity.”

Per Reuters from an article this week, in 2016, Texas has 12.8% of its energy produced by wind energy, something our new energy secretary and former Texas governor has been fairly silent about. And, as noted above it will continue to grow.

And, from an article from the US Energy Information and Administration last October:

In 2015, 11 states generated at least 10% of their total electricity from wind. As recently as 2010, only three states had at least a 10% wind share. Iowa had the largest wind generation share, at 31.3%, and South Dakota (25.5%) and Kansas (23.9%) had wind generation shares higher than 20%. Two additional states, Texas and New Mexico, are on track to surpass a 10% wind generation share in 2016, based on data through July. Wind generation in Texas, the highest wind electricity-producing state, made up 24% of the national total wind generation and 9.9% of Texas’s total electricity generation in 2015.

At the national level, wind’s share of total U.S. electricity generation has risen every year since 2001. Wind facilities produced 190,927 gigawatthours (GWh) of electricity in 2015, accounting for 4.7% of net U.S. electric power generation. This level represents a doubling of wind’s generation share since 2010, when the share was 2.3%. Based on monthly data through July, wind has provided 5.6% of U.S. generation in 2016.”

Both of these quoted articles can be linked to below. As I have said several times, while the President can slow the progress down, the train has left the station on renewable energy due to reduced production pricing coupled with much less maintenance, acquisition, transport and litigation costs.

This is the news that needs to be shouted from the roof tops. And, the benefactors of this progress will not just be our children and grandchildren, it will impact us all now.

20 thoughts on “The wind is at our backs now, with red states leading the way

    • That one was too easy. Yes, it is good news. Amazon is about go online with their wind project in NC after the Dept of Defense signed off, but the General Assembly is petitioning Trump to stop it. Mind you it is already built and approved. I think our legislature may see this in an email soon.

  1. Dear Keith,

    This is in deed positive news. As states begin to realize economic benefits, there will be greater expansion..It looks like even conservatives are getting on the band wagon.

    “The 1/5/17 Washington Examiner by John Siciliano is reporting, “ClearPath, which is seeking to make clean energy a Republican issue and take it away from the Democrats, has tapped Jeff Morehouse, a veteran House Republican aide, as its lead lobbyist and director of government affairs.””Jeff provides an immediate boost to our already-strengthening campaign,” said Jay Faison, a well-known conservative activist and the group’s founder and CEO. “His impressive background, including his strong expertise in energy policy, will be a huge addition to our effort.”

    “Faison was successful in helping a number of Republican lawmakers get re-elected in November by underscoring their support for clean energy policies that help nuclear and natural gas. Faison said he believes his group’s message resonated with voters and he will continue to push for policies that support his clean energy agenda.”

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, it is indeed. Faison is based here in Charlotte. His message is tailored to Republicans, light on climate change and heavy on renewsbles. The total economic costs under renewables are much cheaper than coal and cheaper than natural gas. And, the jobs are growing double digit per annum and have been for the last several years. The issue should not be political, it is environmental and economical. Keith

  2. Reblogged this on Filosofa's Word and commented:
    In the current administration, where we all fear that fossil fuel output, dangerous and destructive oil pipelines, and coal mining will return to their heyday, at a devastating cost to our environment, my blogger-friend Keith has positive news on renewable energy sources and their continuity in spite of Trump and Pruitt! Please take a few moments to read Keith’s post and drop him a comment to let him know you appreciate a bit of positive news! Thank you Keith, both for the post and the unspoken permission to share!

  3. I sure hope that the train has left the station as far as renewables go. Not just those who are employed in the coal industry and those who resist anything that is faintly connected to tree-hugging, traditional gas and electric utilities are struggling to stay relevant in this era of alternative energy sources. They also employ a lot of people, so I hope they can adjust their business model enough to stay alive.

    • Thanks Janis. Our new EPA head said we have to consider jobs in our process. OK, solar energy jobs now are four times coal industry jobs growing at a double digit rate. Wind energy has also grown at double digit rate. This is one area where HRC was dead on accurate that growing these industries was key to the future. A key question is if you were an investor, where would you invest – in coal or renewables? I heard an energy expert say five months ago that Trump’s own plan will kill coal, as natural gas is cheaper and does not leave piles of ash that are around for many decades. Thanks for your comment, Keith

      • Here in California, very little (6%) of our energy is from coal (and only 3% of that is generated in-state). 44% is from natural gas, and 22% is from renewables. The state’s utilities are on the forefront for increasing renewable energy generation.

      • Janis, I read that by itself California would be ranked around 7th in the world as a country on solar energy production. If we can diminish the natural gas, that will help some with the normal drought problems. I recognize it is hard to say drought with all of the flooding going on. Keith

  4. Note to Readers: If you are wondering why these red states are leading the way on wind, this was predicted by oil tycoon T. Boone Pickens several years ago. His thesis is the plains states have significant winds that cross the states and he said in a “60 Minutes” interview about five of six years ago, if we can buy some time with the fracking, it will allow wind energy to take hold and become a more dominant player. Pickens’ opinion seems to be more grounded than our President’s who has been less than truthful on this issue.

  5. My thesis is that there’s an abundance of hot air in the red states. The turbines stir it up and circulate it across the border…a possible contagion. 😦 I’m being facetious of course.

    • Linda, setting aside your facetiousness, there is a not so surprising lack of notoriety. Texas is number one in wind production and it helps ranchers giving them rental income. In NC, the eastern farmers could make money renting space. I recall one farmer making about $60,000 per annum for about a dozen windmills. No water is needed, so the crops and cattle don’t mind. Keith

  6. Note to Readers: I have written before about the concept of the Virtuous Cycle. In essence, wind and solar need not require the use of energy to create energy. With fossil fuels, the fuel is burned to boil water into steam which turns the turbines to spin the electromagnet which creates the electricity. The loss of water due to evaporation (about 1% – 2% is lost when the water flows back to its source) and fracking (2 to 4 million gallons per frack) is a key factor. So, fossil fuels are less utilitarian over time. So, the Virtuous Cycle begs the question that utilities must ask, “why should we build a new fossil fuel plant when it may become obsolete before it is finished?”

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