Wind farm projects involving utilities, private investment, a public university and cooperatives lifted Oklahoma into fourth place for new wind power installation in 2012, according to a national report released Thursday.
The state added 1,127 megawatts of wind capacity last year. Oklahoma also jumped several spots to rank sixth overall with 3,135 MW, which is about 10.5 percent of total electrical generation in the state.
Nationwide, 13,131 MW of new wind power was built in 2012, involving $25 billion worth of investment. The U.S. also surpassed the 60-gigawatt threshold for installed wind capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association's U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report.
“This was the industry's best ever” year, Emily Williams, senior policy analyst for the American Wind Energy Association, said during a web conference detailing the report's findings.
No area grew more than the central region. Texas, Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa all finished in the top 10 for wind power capacity addition in 2012.
The Oklahoma projects added 734 megawatts in the fourth quarter, according to the association's report. One key project finished earlier, however: Oklahoma Gas & Electric's Crossroads wind farm, a partnership with Siemens and Renewable Energy Systems Americas, which was completed in 2012.
OG&E also is the power distributor for the Blackwell wind farm, which sends power to Oklahoma State University. The Blackwell project is owned by NextEra Energy Resources, which was first among owners with 1,505 MW of new installed capacity last year, more than double second-place Iberdrola Renewables.
NextEra also is owner and developer of the Minco III project in central Oklahoma. APEX, TradeWind, Atlantic Power Corp. and GE Energy Financial Service were other investors in state wind power last year.
U.S. wind power increased 27 percent last year. A Gallup Poll released last month indicated that 71 percent of Americans want their nation to put more emphasis on producing domestic power from wind turbines.