5% of California Now Powered by Wind

quinn.anya via Flickr/CC BY 2.0

California is the nation's most populous state, which helps make this landmark even more impressive: According to the LA Times, "Wind energy now supplies about 5% of California’s total electricity needs, or enough to power more than 400,000 households."

That's big news. California has effectively doubled its wind power capacity since 2002, and is now home to 4,000 MW. The state installed 921 MW last year alone, and is now ranked just behind Iowa and Texas in generating capacity.

Here's the LA Times again:

California put up more new turbines than any state last year, with 921.3 megawatts installed. Most of that activity occurred in the Tehachapi area of Kern County, with some big projects in Solano, Contra Costa and Riverside counties as well.

“The total amount of wind energy installations in 2011 created a banner year for wind generation in California and is helping to drive California closer to reaching its goal of 33% renewable energy,” said Nancy Rader, executive director of the California Wind Energy Assn.

Remind me again why people keeping saying things like 'cleantech went bust', like this hyper-sensationalized Wired story? The clean energy sector continues adding jobs at a faster rate than almost any other domestic industry, and investment in cleantech has done anything but go bust—it's booming, according to the latest reports. And renewable power development is rolling along, as demonstrated by California—and there's enormous market potential for more projects.

Of course, California's impressive climate and clean energy policies provide the longterm predictability and business incentives to attract investment, and that's the key factor.

As such, it won't be long before California gets a third of its power from renewable sources, stimulating plenty of business for clean energy companies in the process. So the question isn't whether cleantech is dead, but whether the rest of the nation keep up with places like California.

Tags: California | Clean Energy | Wind Power

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