The American wind industry had another strong year in 2011. It installed 6,810 megawatts of new capacity, a 31% increase over 2010. The 4th quarter of 2011 saw 3,444 MW installed. See http://www.awea.org/newsroom/pressreleases/Q4_making_inroads.cfm and http://www.awea.org/learnabout/publications/reports/upload/4Q-2011-AWEA-Public-Market-Report-2.pdf. Wind power is likely to have provided about a third of all new capacity built in the USA during 2011.
The 2011 completed projects increased America's total wind capacity to 46,919 MW, up 17% over the 2010 total. America operates about 20% of the world's wind capacity. Another 8,300 MW is now under construction in 31 states, as many companies are rushing to complete projects before December 31st, 2012, when the current production tax credit is scheduled to expire.
In 2011, California, Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, and Oklahoma were the top 5 states in building new wind capacity. California alone installed 921.3 MW.
Eight states now have installed more than 2,000 MW. They are Texas (10,377 MW), Iowa (4,322 MW), California (3,927 MW), Illinois (2,743 MW), Minnesota (2,733 MW), Washington (2,573), Oregon (2,513 MW), and Oklahoma (2,007 MW).
Pennsylvania ranked 15th in wind capacity at the end of 2011 with 789 megawatts installed. Pennsylvania may nearly double its wind capacity in 2012 as numerous projects are now under construction.
The American wind industry directly employs about 75,000 people, but about 50% of those jobs are at risk because the production tax credit has not been extended. While strong bi-partisan support exists for extending the production tax credit, rising Republican opposition could be enough to block its extension, making mass layoffs this year throughout the supply chain of the wind industry a possibility.