It’s getting harder and harder to call wind power a niche source of electricity in the United States. Last year, wind turbines represented one-third of all new generation capacity built in the country, behind only natural gas. At this point, wind provides 3 percent of the country’s electricity. In a few states, such as South Dakota, Minnesota and Iowa, wind provides more than 10 percent of all electricity.
Those stats come from a new report from the Department of Energy and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory looking at the state of the U.S. wind-power market in 2011. The report argues that “Wind is a credible source of new generation in the United States,” having grown dramatically in recent years. Costs are tumbling. But, the report concludes, the industry is at risk of shrinking dramatically in 2013 as key tax credits disappear. Let’s take a look at some of their graphs: