Photo via Green Inc
Wind power is growing fast in Missouri--faster by far then any other state in the US. In fact, the Show-Me state increased its wind power capacity by an impressive 90% in the second quarter of 2009. In contrast, the state coming in second, Pennsylvania, only managed a 28% increase. So what's behind Missouri's full throttle wind boom?It'd probably make a better story if the responsible force were breakthrough innovations in Missouri wind technology, or some dedicated clean energy crusader traipsing across the land leaving wind turbines in his wake. But the truth is, what's most responsible for the boom is, well, low expectations.
Until recently, you see, Missouri had a low wind power output--it wasn't in the top 10 wind power producing states (despite being home to Rockport, one of our nation's leading wind cities). It had a mere one tenth of the number of turbines that neighboring Iowa had. And the state got most (80%) of its power from coal, so the cost of energy is low, so it's difficult to make wind power viable. Finally, it has pretty low wind speeds across most of its land. Thus, the state was generally overlooked by wind developers.
From a report in Green Inc:
Tom Carnahan, the president and chief executive of the Wind Capital Group, which has developed several wind farms in Missouri, said that the state's long-term potential was substantial, though it had traditionally been overlooked. "When I started Wind Capital Group in 2005, it was considered common knowledge in our industry that you couldn't develop projects in Missouri," Mr. Carnahan said in an e-mail message. "One of the top guys in the industry once patted me on the shoulder and said, 'Good luck.'"Carnahan goes on to say that there are indeed places, especially in the Northwest, in Missouri where wind speeds are comparable to the great plains. And that's where the major wind farm that's responsible for most of Missouri's spike began operating last April. Another big one's on the way, too, from Carnahan's Wind Capital Group--and it'll add another 150 Megawatts to Missouri's fast growing wind power capacity.