Sunday, February 20, 2011

Blowout Year For Wind in PA and USA

Pennsylvania wind production increased by 95.5% and national wind production rose by 28.1% for the period January to November 2010 compared to January to November 2009, according to Energy Information Agency data. Nationally wind energy is providing enough power for twice the number of homes in all of Pennsylvania or more than 10 million households.

Pennsylvania's percentage production increase was among the very best in the nation, ranking officially 7th.  A few states like Arizona had higher percentage increases in 2010 but because they had virtually no wind production in 2009.

PA wind farms produced 1.644 billion kilowatt-hours in the first eleven months of 2010, jumping from 841 million kilowatt-hours in the first 11 months of 2009.

Nationally wind produced 85.8 billion kilowatt-hours in the first 11 months of 2010, up from 66.9 billion kilowatt-hours in same period of 2009.  Everyone of those kilowatt-hours had zero air emissions; no mercury, soot, smog pollution; no water withdrawals; and no water discharges.  No mining and no drilling.

As I reported in the Wind Turbine Prices Tumble post, wind farms can be built in Pennsylvania for a 20-year 5.5 cents per kilowatt-hour power purchase agreement. 

Moreover all that electricity production lowers wholesale electric market prices (more supply equals lower market price) and is saving consumers billions across America.

Despite all those environmental and consumer benefits, wind energy and wind farms are not immune from opposition. But opponents have failed to stop wind's enormous growth since an overwhelming majority of Americans want more wind energy.  Their wish is coming true.

Assuming each household uses 750 kilowatt-hours per month or 9,000 kilowatt-hours per year, wind power nationally will provide enough electricity for approximately 10.5 million homes in 2010 once the December production numbers are added.   To put that in context, Pennsylvania has about 5.2 million residential electric accounts so wind energy nationally is providing enough electricity for two times all the homes in Pennsylvania.

While these numbers will likely trigger nashing of teeth by a strange mix of wind haters, wind energy is today playing an important role in powering America. And more wind will be harvested for electricity in 2011 when production will increase further. 

For example, Pennsylvania has 4 wind farms under construction.  They will likely begin producing in the 4th quarter of 2011 or first quarter of 2012 and will boost Pa wind production to still higher levels.

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