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Wind Power Leads New U.S. Generating Capacity in 2012

The U.S. wind energy industry had its strongest year ever in 2012, installing a record 13,124 MW of generating capacity, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The expansion put total wind generating capacity above 60,000 MW, enough to power almost 15 million homes. The annual total far surpasses the previous record of 10,000 MW installed in 2010, and for the first time, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electric generating capacity, accounting for 42% of all new generating capacity.

In last year's fourth quarter, 8,380 MW were installed, making it the strongest quarter in U.S. wind power history, in part because of concerns about the expiration of the federal Production Tax Credit, AWEA said. The credit was later extended.

The top 10 states for new capacity installations in 2012, in order, were Texas (1,826 MW), California (1,656 MW), Kansas (1,440 MW), Oklahoma (1,127 MW), Illinois (823 MW), Iowa (814 MW), Oregon (640 MW), Michigan (611 MW), Pennsylvania (550 MW), and Colorado (496 MW).

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