Skip to content

2012 wind report: Minnesota among leaders in wind power production


Minnesota remains one of the leading wind power producing states, according to the 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report and the 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications (.pdf). The reports were released Aug. 6 by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Minnesota ranks seventh in the nation for cumulative wind power capacity with 2,987 megawatts (MW) through 2012, according to the 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report. Texas ranks No. 1 with 12,214 MW. Minnesota ranks fourth in percentage of in-state wind generation, with 14.3 percent of its electricity generated from wind. Iowa leads the way with 24.5 percent followed by South Dakota (23.9 percent) and North Dakota (14.7 percent).

U.S. Wind Capacity (cumulative in MW, through 2012)

  1. Texas          12,214
  2. California       5,542
  3. Iowa             5,133
  4. Illinois           3,568
  5. Oregon         3,153 
  6. Oklahoma      3,134
  7. Minnesota     2,987
  8. Washington   2,808
  9. Kansas          2,713
  10. Colorado        2,301

Distributed wind production. Minnesota is also a leader in the installation of distributed wind energy systems, according to the 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications report, which examines small-scale electric generation from wind connected either to the customer side of the meter or directly to the local distribution on micro grid. The report breaks distributed wind into three markets—small-wind turbines, mid-size turbines, and utility-scale turbines—and distinguishes it from wholesale power generated at large wind farms.

Minnesota ranks second among all states in cumulative distributed wind capacity over the past 10 years (2003-2012), with a little more than 120 MW; Texas is No. 1 at 180 MW. For the same 10-year period, Minnesota leads all states in mid-size distributed wind installations with about 27 MW, despite having no new installations in 2012. It ranks third in utility-scale on-site wind capacity from 2003-2012. Minnesota ranks third (behind Nevada and Iowa) with 1.8 MW for small-wind additions in 2012.

The report points out that new legislation in 2013 that increased Minnesota’s net metering limit to 1,000 kW for investor-owned public utilities should help boost the state’s mid-size and utility-scale distributed generation markets.

Wind is No. 1 new U.S. source of electricity. Wind energy became the No. 1 source of new U.S. electricity generation for the first time in 2012—representing 43 percent of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in U.S. investment. Last year more than 13 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power capacity were added to the U.S. grid, nearly double the wind capacity deployed in 2011. This tremendous growth helped America’s total wind power capacity surpass 60 GW at the end of 2012. That represents enough capacity to power more than 15 million homes each year. The country’s cumulative installed wind energy capacity has increased more than 22-fold since 2000.