American wind power reaches 50-gigawatt milestone

From the AWEA press release:

The 50 gigawatts (GW) online today means that U.S. wind turbines now power the equivalent of nearly 13 million American homes, or as many as in Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama, and Connecticut combined. In addition, 50 gigawatts (GW) of wind power capacity:

  • Represents the generating power of 44 coal-fired power plants, or 11 nuclear power plants.
  • Avoids emitting as much carbon dioxide as taking 14 million cars off the road.
  • Conserves 30 billion gallons of water a year compared to thermal electric generation, since wind energy uses virtually no water.

 

To put this into perspective, it is estimated that the United States used 3.9 million gigawatts in 2011.

Now back to the good news, projects recently connected to the grid:

  • Pattern Energy’s Spring Valley wind farm, 30 miles east of Ely, Nevada (151.8 megawatts, or MW)
  • Enel Green Power North America’s Rocky Ridge wind farm in Oklahoma (148.8 MW)
  • enXco’s Pacific Wind project in Kern County, California (140 MW)
  • Utah Associated Municipal Power’s Horse Butte project in Idaho (57.6 MW)
  • First Wind’s Kaheawa Wind II wind farm in Hawaii (21 MW)
50,000 megawatts = 50 gigawatts

 

It took us a long time to hit 10 MW in 2006, then much less to hit 25 MW in 2008, and now, in 2012, we are at 50 MW. The ramp-up continues all over the country as 39 states now have wind power feeding their grids. There is even good news on the “Made in USA” front with 60% of the sourcing coming from home, compared to 25% in 2005.

 

Continue reading American wind power reaches 50-gigawatt milestone

Los Angeles has second most solar installations in California, behind leader San Diego

Los Angeles ranks second in the state in terms of the number of solar installations on residential, commercial and government buildings, with just over 4,000 projects installed. Los Angles is also second in the state in terms of the total amount of solar electricity generated, measured in capacity, with 36 megawatts.

“The good news is Los Angeles is closing in on San Diego’s lead as America’s #1 solar city,” said Michelle Kinman.

Every megawatt of solar power installed in the Los Angeles area prevents the emission of nearly 700 pounds of smog-forming pollution per year.

A recent report by the Solar Energy Industry Association shows that California is home to over 3,500 solar companies that employ more than 25,000 people.

In the past two years, Los Angeles has nearly tripled the amount of rooftop solar installations. From 1999 through 2009, Los Angeles installed just over 1,000 solar rooftop systems, totaling over 13 MW.

Governor Jerry Brown has called for a significant expansion of California’s rooftop solar market by putting out a vision of installing 12 gigawatts (a gigawatt is 1000 megawatts, or twelve times California’s current solar rooftop market) by 2020.

Los Angeles Unified School District at Richard E. Byrd Middle School in Sun Valley, which recently had a 362 kW solar system on a parking lot shade structure, which will save the District more than $1.6 million over the span of the 20 years and $60,000 in the first year.

via Environment California

 

Los Angeles is also tops in the state (and country) for water conservation.