Mark Steil Aug 8, 2017
The U.S. Department of Energy found a growth spurt in the wind power industry last year, both in Minnesota and nationally.
New data from the U.S. Energy Department shows Minnesota wind energy capacity increased about 9 percent last year.
Minnesota added enough new wind energy last year to power about 150,000 homes.
The cost of wind power rivals other forms of electricity generation, said Minnesota Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman.
“Wind is now turning out to be one of the lowest cost alternatives — competitive with natural gas, and with other forms of electricity,” he said. “That’s why we’re seeing such a huge growth in the wind energy in Minnesota.
Wind power accounts for nearly 18 percent of the electricity generated in Minnesota.The state ranks seventh in the nation for wind energy.
Texas continues to lead, with about six times more wind power than Minnesota. Iowa, which has about twice the Minnesota capacity, ranked second.
Nationally, the report said wind power additions continued “at a rapid pace in 2016.” Investment totaled $13 billion, increasing capacity by 8,203 megawatts.
Last year saw operation of the nation’s first offshore wind power installation, the 30 megawatt Block Island project in Rhode Island.