Minnesota continues to be a top state for wind power

UN  BNEF

It added almost 15,000 jobs a year ago, bringing total wind industry employment to over 102,000 jobs across all 50 states, Kiernan said.

Across the country, the wind industry added 15,000 jobs, growing the total number of wind jobs to 102,000.

"We're studying just how much renewables, both wind and solar and other forms, you can have on your system, and I'm pleased to tell you the more we learn about it, the more we develop it... and the more we invest in our grid, I think the more renewables we can put on our systems and not sacrifice reliability", Fowke said.

Wind provided 17.3 percent of Colorado's energy - the seventh highest percentage in the country, according to the report.

CEO Ben Fowke said the combination of technological improvements and state and federal policies have made wind energy more attractive.

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"Bigger, better technology enables new wind turbines to generate 50 percent more electricity than those built in 2009 and at 66 percent lower cost", Kiernan continued. That is about 8 percent of the total US wind capacity and enough to power about 3.3 million average-size homes. Most of the new wind farms are large projects of 200 MW or more. Moreover, 95% of the USA wind power capacity installed previous year used turbines from a manufacturer with at least one US factory.

At the state level, wind generated over 30% of the electricity produced in Iowa and South Dakota in 2016. New wind farms will benefit many more local communities by generating almost $400 million in property taxes over the life of the projects.

The report, released in Minnesota, also highlighted the benefit that wind energy is having in the Upper Midwest, where 26% of Minnesota, Iowa, and the Dakotas' energy production is being supplied by wind, supporting more than 18,000 jobs and providing $28 billion in private investment into the region.

The power company boasts more than 2,500 megawatts of wind energy in its regional transmission network, including 1,500 megawatts available to regional Xcel customers. "Xcel Energy's pioneering leadership shows how we can use even more of our great American wind resources while creating new jobs throughout the heartland".

President Chris Brown of Vestas Americas, maker of wind power generators, said every wind turbine brings with it 44 jobs, ranging from construction workers to engineers. "Each project means tens of millions of dollars flow to rural areas through jobs, taxes, and lease payments to farmers and ranchers - enriching those families and communities".

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