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United States

Developers apply for connection of 225 GW of wind plant

The developers of an astonishing 225 GW of wind plant -- more than twice the wind power capacity installed in the world today -- have applied to connect their projects to the American electricity network. "That's an astounding number," says Ryan Wiser of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) in California. It makes wind the largest resource seeking interconnection in the US. Wiser is the lead author of the US Department of Energy's second annual report on US Wind Power Installation, Cost and Performance Trends in which the 225 GW is contained. As yet, wind power barely supplies more than 1% of US electricity, according to the report, but some states are beginning to realise high wind penetration levels. By the end of 2007, wind power was providing 7.5% of all in-state electricity generation in both Minnesota and Iowa. Four additional states -- Colorado, South Dakota, Oregon, and New Mexico -- surpass the 4% mark while 13 states exceed 2%. In terms of utility systems, three are estimated by LBNL to be getting more than 10% of their electricity from the wind, while 15 have exceeded 5%. The data gathered for the report is mainly from public sources, but Wiser says much of it is not necessarily easy to access and to interpret. "I think it's fair to say that, at least in a couple of cases, we are pulling information where we are the only ones in the US, in the world, in the universe, that actually know how to access some of these public data sources." The document is available free of charge on the LBNL website.

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