The U.S. wind industry’s 2011 Annual Market Report reports that wind power is at the heart of an American success story, ending another strong year of double-digit growth, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The market report illustrates how wind power has created a positive feedback loop where market certainty allows for states to generate affordable electricity from wind at record levels. This leads to one of the U.S.’s fastest growing sources of made-in-the-USA manufacturing jobs, which then allows the cost of wind to drop even further.

South Dakota and Iowa lead a record five states that received more than 10% of their electricity from wind in 2011. Seven states have at least 4,000 wind jobs apiece; the list shows the industry’s geographic reach, stretching from Iowa to Texas to Illinois, Ohio, Colorado, California and Michigan. Meanwhile, Kansas’ position at the top of the list for under construction wind projects is setting the stage for a strong 2012.  

In the past five years of bipartisan policy stability, American wind power has brought in as much as $20 billion annually in private investment to the U.S. and created one of the largest providers of new American electric generation with 35% of all new power capacity, right behind natural gas. In addition, it has created nearly 500 new American manufacturing facilities and employed 75,000 overall, including 30,000 in the manufacturing sector, from coast to coast.

“This shows what wind power is capable of: building new projects, powering local economies and creating jobs,” said Denise Bode, CEO, AWEA.. “Traditional tax incentives are working. This tremendous activity is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC)–which leverages as much as $20 billion a year in private investment and supports tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs.”

The U.S. wind industry installed 6,816 megawatts (MW) in 2011, 31% higher than 2010, for a total of 46,916 MW installed in the U.S. to date. More than 8,300 MW are currently under construction, setting the stage for a strong 2012.

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