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California has third-highest wind capacity of U.S. states

October 20, 2009 | 12:01 pm

California has the third-highest amount of total operating wind capacity in the country, according to the American Wind Energy Assn.’s third-quarter report.

The state can produce up to 2,787 megawatts, or 2.8 gigawatts, behind Texas, with 8.8 gigawatts, and Iowa with 3 gigawatts. But California outpaces Minnesota, with 1.8 gigawatts, and Oregon, with 1.7 gigawatts.

Only 10 states can produce more than a gigawatt of wind energy, according to the trade association.

Across the country, 1.6 gigawatts of wind-power generators were newly installed in the third quarter, more than the previous quarter or the third quarter of 2008. This year, more than 5.8 gigawatts have been added.

States such as Arizona, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Wyoming and New Mexico had the fastest growth rates in the third quarter.

Overall, the country can currently produce more than 31 gigawatts of wind energy, or enough to power nearly 9 million homes and avoid 57 million tons of annual carbon emissions, according to the wind association.

But manufacturing of wind turbines is still slower than the 2008 levels, despite 1.7 gigawatts of new construction starting during the quarter and $6.5 billion in new investment.

The fourth quarter will also be weaker than the equivalent period in 2008, according to the association. With a credit crisis that dragged down turbine orders, ongoing construction is nearly 38% lower.

-- Tiffany Hsu

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