Indiana is first in nation for wind power growth

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A report due out later this month will show that Indiana is the state growing wind power at the fastest rate in the nation.

Indiana grew its wind-generated capacity from practically zero to 130 megawatts in 2008, said the American Wind Energy Association.

Capacity for an additional 400 megawatts was completed in the first quarter. This month is the ground breaking of another 200 megawatts, at Horizon Wind Energy’s Meadow Lake Wind Farm in Chalmers.

Much of the wind generation is centered in the northern part of the state, particularly in Benton County. Most major electric utilities, including Duke Energy and Indianapolis Power & Light, have committed to purchasing a sliver of their overall electric needs from wind turbines in the state.

Indiana is still a relative pipsqueak when it comes to wind generation. Texas, for example, has 6,297 megawatts of installed wind capacity. The United States has more than 21,000 megawatts of installed capacity, enough to power more than 5.3 million homes—if the wind were blowing everywhere at the same time.

Pending in the Indiana General Assembly is legislation that would require that the state receive at least 15 percent of its electricity from renewable or energy-efficient resources by 2025. The measure, still alive at last look, is Senate Bill 300, which has the backing of the Hoosier Environmental Council. HEC points to studies that show Indiana has the potential to land 40,000 manufacturing jobs related to renewable-energy equipment if a renewable-energy standard is adopted.

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