Chart: The top 10 wind power states might surprise you

The wind industry is surging in the Heartland.
By Eric Wesoff, Maria Virginia Olano

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Last week, our chart highlighted the top 10 solar states. This week, we’re taking a look at the top wind states.

The wind corridors running across the Great Plains and the center of this country unsurprisingly overlap with the top wind power production states. They also happen to overlap with the top oil-producing states.

Those hippies in Texas with their cheap renewable energy are the absolute top dog in wind production. The Lone Star State has nearly 33 gigawatts of wind capacity installed — almost three times as much as No. 2–ranked Iowa.

But Iowa is both a top producer and a top consumer, generating a phenomenal 57.5 percent of its own energy from wind. This is due to incentives and because wind power is a big revenue generator for the agricultural sector, as farmers can lease land to wind farm developers even while continuing to grow crops. If more transmission line capacity were to be installed, the Iowan wind sector could grow even more.

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While California leads the pack in solar power production, it ranks only sixth in wind.

The cumulative amount of wind electricity generation in the U.S. has grown steadily in the past decades as technological advances have lowered costs and state and federal subsidies have encouraged development. Growth will continue in the 2020s by all predictions.

Wind power provided more than 8 percent of the country’s utility-scale electricity generation in 2020, according to the EIA, and nearly a quarter of the electricity in seven states. By 2030, wind could furnish 20 percent of the nation’s power, surpassing nuclear’s portion today, according to the U.S. Department of Energy.

And we haven’t even started talking about the explosive growth of offshore wind yet.

Eric Wesoff is the executive director at Canary Media.

Maria Virginia Olano is chief of staff at Canary Media.