facts about wind powerWind is a constant presence and something that most of us don’t think twice about. Yet wind power continues to be a growing source of renewable energy. The American Wind Energy Association reports that, in 2012, “wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generating capacity for the first time, providing some 42% of all new generating capacity.”

Don’t know much about wind power aside from turbines and kilowatt-hours? That still puts you ahead of the curve! If you’re interested in a closer look at this powerful renewable energy source, take a look at some fascinating wind power facts compiled by the Wind Energy Foundation:

  • From 2008 to 2012, wind power provided 36.5% of all new generating capacity in the U.S.
  • Windmills have been in use since 2000 B.C. They were first developed in China and Persia.
  • A single wind turbine can power 500 homes.
  • In 2012, roughly 140 million megawatt-hours were generated by wind energy, which avoided 79.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide. That’s the equivalent of removing 14 million cars from the roads.
  • The majority of wind turbines (95%) are installed on private land.
  • At times, wind power produces as much as 45% of Spain’s electricity.
  • In 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generating capacity. The year proved to be a strong one for all renewables; combined, they accounted for more than 55% of all new U.S. generating capacity.
  • During the fourth quarter of 2012, Texas led the nation in new wind installations, followed by California, Kansas, Oklahoma and Iowa.

What’s even more interesting? Wind power doesn’t just generate energy—it’s an economic development driver, too. USA Today reported that wind energy development was partly responsible for economic growth in the fourth quarter of 2012, and we’ll be interested to see how the numbers add up in 2013.

Have you noticed an increased use of wind power in your area?

Image: fRandi-Shooters via Compfight cc