Texas now leads the nation in wind turbine capacity

If a wind energy company has contacted you about buying or leasing your land, you may be wondering if wind energy is a real option for delivering the power Texas and New Mexico need. Wind energy is making up an ever-greater share of our power capacity. In fact, the U.S. set a record for wind capacity as of December 2020.

Texas was by far the top-producing state. As of the end of 2020, Texas had installed a total of 30.2 gigawatts (GW) – more than the next three highest states combined, according to electrek. Those states were Iowa, Oklahoma and Kansas.

Is the market getting saturated?

Not in Texas. The state of Texas both generates and consumes the most electricity of any state. As of the date studied, wind energy accounted for just under 20% of Texas total power capacity. There’s plenty of room to grow.

As for New Mexico, there is ample opportunity to make money selling or leasing land to wind energy companies. Much of the land is appropriate for wind energy generation, but New Mexico isn’t yet among the states producing the most from wind.

The US as a whole built more wind turbine capacity in 2020 than in any previous year. Additional generation totaled 14.2 GW nationwide, adding up to a total wind turbine capacity of 118 GW.

In both Iowa and Kansas, wind overtook coal as the top in-state electricity source in 2019.

What caused the surge in wind power in 2020?

According to the US Energy Information Administration (EIA), the surge in building new wind energy capacity probably occurred because people and companies expected the 30% US production tax credit (PTC) to phase out at the end of 2020. However, Congress then extended the PTC through 2021 – so we may see huge increases in capacity when we get the numbers for last year.

The PTC is phasing out at the moment, although its fate is still being decided. Congress is currently considering several measures to subsidize clean energy projects, and a continued PTC is among them.

How much power does the US get from wind energy overall?

Based on EIA estimates, 8.4% of utility-scale generation of electricity in 2020 was from wind turbines. The EIA expects that percentage to reach 10% in 2021.

Ten percent of U.S. utility-scale electricity is more than many people expected to see wind produce.  There may be good reason to believe that it will continue to grow as a source of electricity, especially in places like New Mexico and Texas.

If an energy company contacts you about buying or leasing your land for a renewable energy project, don’t just sign on the dotted line. It’s true that many of these companies have the power of eminent domain, so they can often force the sale. However, you have the right to fair and just compensation for the full market value of your land. Talk to an experienced energy law attorney before you make a decision.