Wind energy units double, but Pa. still trails leaders
PITTSBURGH -- Wind energy installations almost doubled in Pennsylvania last year, but the industry still provides only about 1 percent of the state's electricity, far behind Iowa and Texas.
Pennsylvania now ranks 16th in the nation in wind power, with 1,430 megawatts, according to the American Wind Energy Association's Annual Market Report for 2012, which was released this month.
Iowa leads the nation, getting 24.5 percent of its electricity from wind power in 2012. South Dakota was at 24 percent, Minnesota 14 percent, Colorado 11 percent and Texas just over 7 percent. New York was at 2.2 percent, and Maine led the Northeast at almost 6 percent.
Even some advocates of renewable energy wonder if Pennsylvania will ever reach the wind energy levels of Iowa and some other leaders.
"My view is, probably not," said George Jugovic, president of PennFuture, an environmental group. "I think it's just economics." Jugovic supports wind energy and still believes it will grow here, just not at the scale of other states.
Iowa, Texas and other states have sustained high winds and large areas of flat land that are relatively easy to build on, while states such as New York have the potential for extensive offshore wind farms. In Pennsylvania, the windiest areas tend to be on mountain ridges.