|  Oct 27, 2016

Kansas To Surpass Illinois as One of Top Five Wind Energy States This Year

Report: Illinois' growth lags other Midwest states; Broken energy policy to blame  

CHICAGO, IL - All indicators point to Kansas eclipsing Illinois from the Top 5 U.S. states for installed wind generation by end of year, according to a report released today. The American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry Third Quarter 2016 Market Report indicated that Illinois added no new wind power to the grid in 2016 and has only two projects under construction. Meanwhile states like Kansas, Iowa, and Missouri are all adding significant wind capacity to their energy mix.

"2016 is another slow year for the wind power growth in Illinois," said Kevin Borgia, Public Policy Manager for Wind on the Wires. "This is unfortunate, because Illinois has a strong wind resource, huge electric demand, and residents that want more clean, low cost wind on the grid."

Illinois traditionally has long been a wind power leader, but its role has been sliding in recent years. Four years ago, Illinois ranked 4th in the country in installed capacity, but Oklahoma pushed Illinois from that position in 2014.

The report shows the Midwest remains a leader in wind development.  Oklahoma is now on pace to become the third-ranked state in installed capacity by the end of 2016, overtaking California. Among other findings about Midwest states, it notes that Iowa has seven wind power projects currently under construction and Missouri is expected to more than double its installed capacity by the end of 2017. Currently, Illinois has only two projects under construction.

Illinois's slow growth is generally attributed to the lack of a comprehensive state energy policy and broken Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS). Lawmakers, environmentalists, utilities and other stakeholders are currently debating fixes to the RPS law, but the conversation has been mired in a broader energy debate in the state Capitol for years.

"EDP Renewables has invested more than $1.5 billion in its Twin Groves, Rail Splitter, and Top Crop Wind Farms in Illinois" said Ryan Brown, EDP Renewables Executive Vice President. "Investment is flowing to the farmers, local businesses, towns, and counties in nearby states while Illinois continues to stand on the sidelines, failing to harvest the clean, local resource that is wind. We urge Illinois lawmakers to act to fix the renewable energy law and get wind growth back on track."

The report details wind power projects throughout the country and provides data on all commercial scale wind power installed and under construction for 3rd Quarter 2016. A copy of the report can be found here.

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Wind on the Wires is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in St. Paul, Minn., that works to advance renewable energy in the Midwest. Its members are comprised of wind and solar developers, environmental organizations, tribal representatives, public interest groups, clean energy advocates, farm groups and businesses providing goods and services to the wind and solar industries.