Wetumpka, AL (PressExposure) February 11, 2012 -- 2011 turned out to be one of the best years ever for wind energy in the United States. South Dakota and Iowa accomplished a major achievement as wind energy accounted for 20 percent of their total electricity production.
While Iowa and South Dakota lead the way with their record 20 percent wind penetration overall benchmark, a utility system in Colorado accomplished a major feat as well. Xcel Energy set a wind power world record on the morning of October 6, when subsidiary Public Service Co. of Colorado got 55.6 percent of the electricity on its system at one time from wind energy.
California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law legislation in April that ups the state''s renewable electricity standard from an already strong 20 percent to an historic 33 percent by 2020.
2011 marked the launch of WindMade, a new consumer label that will highlight companies getting a large portion of their electricity from wind power. Already 15 companies,including such big names as Motorola Mobility, Deutsche Bank, and Bloomberg-have committed to attaining the new label by getting at least 25 percent of their electricity from wind energy.
When more than 50 power plants totaling 7,000 MW unexpectedly went offline in Texas due to unseasonably cold weather conditions early in 2011 , wind power was able to help stabilize the system and keep the electricity on. Wind energy played a crucial role in limiting the severity of the power blackouts, providing enough electricity to keep the power on for around three million typical households.
Alabama Power announced they had signed a power purchase agreement for TradeWind Energy to provide 202 MW of power from an Oklahoma wind farm facility. Alabama Power spokesman Matt Bowden said "This agreement not only boosts our use of renewable energy, it also provides real savings for our customers," he said. "It benefits both the environment and the people we serve."
The Louisiana Public Service Commission approved a 20-year contract that utility Southwestern Electric Power Co. of Shreveport signed for buying electricity from a Kansas wind farm.
2011 was overall an outstanding year for the wind energy industry, 2012 could bring even more accomplishments and milestones for the industry.