Coastwide
AWEA’s annual market report shows a healthy wind industry delivered record U.S. jobs, $1 billion in rural community and state payments last year. (Image: AWEA)

U.S. wind power grew 8% in 2018 amid record demand

The American wind industry emerged from 2018 stronger than ever, now able to power 30 million American homes after 8% capacity growth last year. The newly released U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report, Year Ending 2018 reveals that U.S. wind power supports a record 114,000 American jobs, over 500 domestic factories, and more than $1 billion a year in revenue for states and communities that host wind farms.

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) leaders announced the news at the Greater Houston Partnership, the chamber of commerce for the nation’s energy capital. Wind power is big business for Texas, which ranked first for installed wind-power capacity and wind jobs last year. In Texas and across the nation, Fortune 500 brands and utilities alike purchased a record amount of new wind energy last year through long-term contracts, contributing to a record pipeline of wind capacity under construction or advanced stages of development.

“Wind power’s record-breaking year shows our industry is leading the way to a cleaner, stronger 21st Century U.S. economy,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “America’s least expensive source of new electricity generation is also clean and inexhaustible, which gives our economy an edge in the global marketplace. We’re proud to report the wind industry employs a record number of Americans, supports a robust domestic manufacturing sector with over 500 factories, and contributes over a billion dollars a year to states and rural communities.”

Texas leads the way in wind
There are wind farms or factories supplying the industry in all 50 states, but no state exemplifies these trends better than Texas. The Lone Star State is home to roughly a quarter of all U.S. wind-power capacity. If Texas were a country, it would rank fifth in the world for wind-power capacity with nearly 25,000 MW installed. And with nearly 7,000 MW of additional wind projects under construction or in advanced development at the end of 2018, Texas is adding more wind than all but two other states currently have installed.

Texas’s leadership in wind capacity means it also leads in wind industry jobs and investment. Texas is the top state for direct and indirect wind industry jobs, with more than 25,000 Texans working in the industry. Wind farms in Texas have drawn over $46 billion in total capital investment to date and pay approximately $307 million each year in landowner payments plus state and local taxes.

“Texas continues to lead the nation, with hard work and ingenuity, in harnessing this great American renewable energy resource, literally out of thin air,” Kiernan added.“Texas has a long and storied history of energy production and as today’s report demonstrates, wind is an important part of the state’s energy success story. In many ways, the Texas wind story is the story of American wind power.”

Wind in rural America
Wind farms pay $1.05 billion a year through state and local taxes plus lease payments to landowners, the most complete picture yet of the value wind farms pay into rural communities. To arrive at $1 billion, AWEA quantified the never-before reported $761 million a year paid by wind farms in state and local taxes that help communities improve their school systems, fix roads and fund emergency services.

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