American wind energy now generates over 10 percent of electricity in nine states

In Iowa and South Dakota, wind energy is more than one-fifth of total energy production.

The American wind industry experienced record-breaking growth in 2012 as a U.S. power provider. American wind power’s generation shot up 117 percent last year, and produced more than 10 percent of the electricity in nine states, up from five states in 2011. Those numbers are likely to continue growing as new investments and wind projects are announced. Across the country, wind energy produced 3.5 percent of the nation’s electricity during 2012, according to the Energy Information Admiration’s (EIA) latest figures.


“With wind power serving as the number one source of new generating capacity in 2012, it’s no surprise that wind energy is increasing its role in the overall U.S. power mix,” said Elizabeth Salerno, Director of Industry Data & Analysis at the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).


The growth in wind energy in the U.S. can also be seen in its increasing role in the generation mix of individual states. Iowa and South Dakota reached generation levels greater than 20 percent throughout the entire year of 2012. In a total of 14 states, American wind energy provides 5 percent or more of generation.


Iowa was ranked first in wind generation, with 24.5% generation from wind energy. South Dakota was a close second with 23.9% generation from wind energy. North Dakota ranked third Minnesota closely followed, ranking fourth with over 14% wind energy generation. Kansas, which doubled its installation of wind power during 2012, jumped ahead to No. 5 position in wind generation, surpassing the 10% mark, reaching 11.4% generation from wind energy.

Percent of electric power from wind generation by state

Top 20 States during 2012

Rank State % Wind Generation in 2012 Rank State % Wind Generation in 2012
1 Iowa


11 Texas


2 South Dakota


12 New Mexico


3 North Dakota


13 Maine


4 Minnesota


14 Washington


5 Kansas


15 California


6 Colorado


16 Montana


7 Idaho


17 Illinois


8 Oklahoma


18 Nebraska


9 Oregon


19 Hawaii


10 Wyoming


20 Indiana




“We are generating enough clean, affordable, American wind energy to power the equivalent of almost 15 million homes, or the number in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio combined,” continued Salerno.


The geographic diversity and abundance of American wind installations is a reflection of the United States’ strong wind resource. In a 2010 study, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory reported over 10 million MW of wind resource in the U.S., enough to power the equivalent of the nation’s total electricity needs 10 times over. In fact, 25 states have enough wind potential to supply as much electricity as is currently generated from all energy sources in their state.


Texas, the state that uses the most electricity, relied on wind energy for 9.2% of the electrical generation last year on the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) power grid. The Lone Star State boasts more wind power than any other state, with more than 12,000 MW installed