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Wind energy leaders in several categories maintained their leading positions even as other leaders emerged in new categories, while 24 states saw new wind turbine and component manufacturing facilities opened, expanded or announced in 2008, according to the annual wind energy industry rankings report released by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The new listings, based on 2008 year-end numbers, show Texas leading in wind capacity and largest wind farms installed, Minnesota and Iowa both generating over 7% of their electricity from wind, and Indiana as the state with the fastest growth in wind on a percentage basis.

In company rankings, NextEra Energy Resources (formerly FPL Energy) continues to lead in wind farm ownership. GE Energy remained the wind turbine maker with the largest amount of new capacity installed, and Xcel Energy leads investor-owned utilities in wind power. Wind power's recent growth has also accelerated investment in manufacturing: Wind turbine and turbine component manufacturers announced, added or expanded more than 55 facilities in 2008 alone, spanning 24 states from Alabama to Wisconsin.

"The wind energy industry today generates not only clean energy for our economy, but also hope and opportunity for American workers and businesses," says AWEA CEO Denise Bode. "Whether it is building or maintaining a wind project, or producing wind turbine components, you'll find people employed in wind power in nearly all 50 states today."

According to the report, Oregon moved into the 1,000 MW club, which already includes Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Washington and Colorado.

Indiana ranked as the state with the fastest growth rate, expanding installations from zero to 131 MW, followed by Michigan (48%), Utah (21%), New Hampshire (17%) and Wisconsin (6%).

Approximately 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today - a 70% increase from 50,000 a year ago - and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more.

To read the full report, visit awea.org.

SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association

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