The United States installed more wind generation in 2012 than any other nation and Oklahoma now ranks sixth in the country in wind capacity, the federal Energy Department said Tuesday.
Norman-based Bergey Windpower Co., which makes wind turbines for homes, farms and schools, also ranked No. 2 in the nation for small-turbine manufacturers, according to the department's list of wind companies. The firm in the top spot filed for bankruptcy earlier this year, so Bergey likely will rise to No. 1.
The Energy Department report said U.S. utilities and power producers added 13,131 megawatts of wind energy in 2012, followed by China at 12,960 megawatts.
The United States had more than 60,000 megawatts of wind capacity by the end of 2012. It trails only China, which has more than 75,300 megawatts of installed wind capacity, the report said.
Wind beat natural gas for the number of new installed megawatts for utility electricity generation in 2012. Wind had about 43 percent of new capacity in the United States, followed by natural gas at 32 percent.
“As the fastest-growing source of power in the United States, wind is paving the way to a cleaner, more sustainable future that protects our air and water and provides affordable, clean renewable energy to more and more Americans,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in a statement.
Large power producers added 1,127 megawatts of wind capacity in Oklahoma last year, bringing the state to more than 3,134 megawatts, the department said in its annual Wind Technologies Market Report. That's enough to power more than 780,000 homes and put Oklahoma in sixth place.
Texas leads the nation with 12,214 megawatts of wind, followed by California, Iowa, Illinois and Oregon.
The building boom last year came as a federal tax credit for wind generation faced an uncertain future. Congress renewed the production tax credit for another year at the last minute as part of negotiations over the so-called “fiscal cliff.” The credit, which offers generators 2.3 cents per kilowatt hour of electricity produced, now expires at the end of 2013. It also allows projects to start construction by the end of the year in order to qualify for the credit.