Wind power drives strong interest in U.S. renewable electricity generation

Over the last decade, the number of states generating more than 10% of electricity from non-hydro renewable energy has increased from two to nine.

The main driver? Wind tyrbines.

According to the Energy Information Administration, there are now 20 states generating more than 5% of electricity from non-hydro renewables. The two most dramatic increases in renewable generation were in South Dakota and Iowa, which now have 21% and 17% penetration respectively, up from about 1% a decade ago.

These figures don’t include on-site distributed generation — a sector that is still very small, but growing steadily.

There’s a reason why many Republican lawmakers, including Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and Iowa Representative Steve King, want to see the Production Tax Credit for wind extended. The industry has supported more than 3,000 manufacturing and operations jobs in the state, providing more than $12.7 million in annual land lease payments for Iowans each year.

By Stephen Lacey,