Texas leads the country in wind power additions
Wind is now America's largest renewable energy provider
VICTORIA, Texas – Wind power is emerging as America’s top choice for new power, with Texas leading the country in wind power additions, installing a record amount of 3,938 MW in 2019 alone. Operating wind power capacity in the U.S. now stands at over 105 GW, Texas representing more than 25 percent. Nationally, the newly released Wind Powers America Annual Report 2019 reveals that U.S. wind energy supports a record 120,000 American jobs, 530 domestic factories, and $1.6 billion a year in revenue for states and communities that host wind farms.
The U.S. wind industry experienced its third strongest year on record in 2019, as project developers invested nearly $14 billion in new wind projects totaling 9,137 MW. These installations made wind power the number one choice of new utility-scale power generation in 2019, capturing 39 percent of new additions. Total operating wind power capacity increased 9.6 percent to 105,591 MW, with nearly 60,000 wind turbines now operating across 41 states and two territories. This caps off a strong decade of growth that saw America more than triple its wind power capacity to become the largest renewable power resource on a capacity basis.
“Across the state, and our region, we have seen tremendous investment from the wind industry,” said Sergio Contreras, President and CEO of the RGV Partnership. “Well-paying jobs, land-lease payments to our landowners and overall economic growth has benefited our community, and we look forward to this reliability through 2020.”
Wind energy is bringing unrivaled investment to rural America, where 99 percent of wind projects are located. Nationally, wind projects paid over $912 million in state and local taxes. These tax payments help communities improve their school systems, fix roads, and fund emergency services. Additionally, over $700 million in annual land-lease payments provide landowners with a drought-proof cash crop that helps them weather lean years and expand their operations during good times.
Wind turbine technicians, the workers who build and maintain wind farms, continue to represent the second fastest growing career in the country, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Meanwhile, veterans find wind jobs at a rate 61 percent higher than the average U.S. industry. Texas continues to lead the way for wind power jobs, with over 25,000 wind workers employed in the Lone Star State.
According to AWEA analysis, COVID-19 is putting an estimated 25 GW of wind projects at risk, representing $35 billion in investment. This includes the potential loss of over $8 billion to rural communities in the form of state and local tax payments and land-lease payments to private landowners, as well as the loss of over 35,000 jobs, including wind turbine technicians, construction workers, and factory workers. Like the benefits of wind development, these losses will be felt most strongly in rural communities. The industry will continue working with Congress and other renewable energy leaders to address the challenges of COVID-19 to ensure projects have the flexibility to continue development.