Which State Has the Most Wind Turbines

As climate change progresses, more effort is being made to reduce emissions, to try and meet carbon reduction targets across the globe.

This means the number of wind turbines being installed every year continually increases. In America, almost every state now has wind turbines, but some have far more than others. One state in particular has more than twice as many wind turbines than any other.

With 15,329 wind turbines, Texas has more wind turbines than any other US state, according to data released by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on the 9th September 2021. However, that’s just wind turbines above 1 MW in size. The real number could be far higher.

Small wind turbines, less than 25kw, generally don’t need planning permits. So, it’s therefore not possible to track which state has the most wind turbines of any size.

However, most large wind turbines are capable of generating many times more electricity than any number of small wind turbines. Therefore, tracking which state or country has the most wind turbines of any size becomes somewhat of a meaningless task anyway.

How Many Wind Turbines Are There in Each State?

As mentioned, Texas has the most wind turbines. What’s surprising though is how many more wind turbines it has than the state with the second higher number of wind turbines.

Probably the best way to show this is with a graph…

As you can see, Iowa is the state with the second highest number of wind turbines, but it has less than half the number of wind turbines than Texas.

There are lots of reasons for this, some not so obvious, which we’ll go into in a future article.

Here is the full data for how many wind turbines are in each state, based on 2020 data gathered by the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

State Total Turbines Total Nameplace Capacity
Texas 15,329 30,108
lowa 6,420 11,407
California 6,219 5,971
Oklahoma 4,445 9,322
Kansas 3,393 6,835
Illinois 3,290 6,325
Colorado 2,648 4,723
Minnesota 2,640 4,321
North Dakota 2,140 4,035
Oregon 2,116 3,766
Washington 1,896 3,387
Indiana 1,494 2,940
New Mexico 1,398 2,558
Michigan 1,325 2,636
Wyoming 1,294 2,608
Nebraska 1,216 2,576
New York 1,122 1,989
South Dakota 981 2,150
Missouri 943 1,987
Pennsylvania|DJ 751 1,463
Idaho 541 974
Montana 530 882
Wisconsin 465 735
Maine 405 997
West Virginia 396 743
Ohio 393 853
Arizona 269 617
Utah 203 390
Hawaii 123 233
North Carolina 104 208
New Hampshire 83 214
Maryland 76 190
Alaska 73 60
Vermont 67 151
Nevada 66 150
Massachusetts!’] 65 106
Rhode Island 27 74
Tennessee 18 29
New Jersey 6 9
Connecticut 2 5
Delaware 1 2
Data compiled from Annual Electric Generator Report (EIA-860) Data Files for 2020

Which State Generates the Most Wind Energy?

Interestingly, the number of wind turbines in each state doesn’t dictate how much wind energy each state is capable of generating.

This is because older wind turbines are generally smaller than their modern counterparts. As technology improves, wind turbines get larger and more efficient.

This means that, although one state may have more wind turbines than another, if the average size of its wind turbines are smaller then it could actually be generating less wind energy in total, if all turbines were working at their full nameplate capacity.

Note: Nameplate capacity means the maximum energy output that a wind turbine can generate when operating at full capacity. Nameplate capacity is also called a turbine’s ‘rated output’.

For example, California was one of the first US states to start installing wind turbines, way back in 1975 when wind turbines were much smaller, especially in comparison to the huge modern turbines to be found on new wind farms.

With that said, Texas now not only has the most wind turbines greater than 1 MW in size, it is also capable of generating more wind energy than any other US state, based on the nameplate capacity of all machines over 1MW.

Texas has more than 30,000 MW of ‘nameplate capacity’ installed across all its 1MW+ turbines.

Edward Rivis

I co-own a fleet of wind turbines, and I'm passionate about renewable energy and it's critical role in helping avoid irreversible damage to our planet.

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