Monday, October 15, 2012

Wind energy in Indiana - Overview

Wind energy sector is rapidly growing in the state of Indiana. The best proof to this comes from the fact that wind power now satisfies close to 3% of state electricity demand. In 2007, Indiana was nowhere to be found on US wind energy map while today The Hoosier State is one of the fastest growing wind energy markets in United States.

The National Renewable Energy Laboratory estimated that Indiana has at least 40,000 Megawatts of wind energy potential. These excellent wind energy resources in combination with plenty rural areas make almost ideal conditions to develop new wind energy projects in the state. These rural areas make excellent locations for large wind turbines, and the number of big wind farms continues to grow.

The breakthrough year for Indiana wind energy industry was 2009, when wind power attracted the investment of more than $3 billion, and when state added more than 900 megawatts of new wind power capacity. Since the 2009, the state hasn't looked back and wind farms are everywhere to be seen when driving through Indiana.

Fowler Ridge Wind Farm in Hoosier State

The largest wind farm in the state is Fowler Ridge Wind Farm with 355 installed wind turbines and a total capacity of 600 MW. The other large wind energy projects include Meadow Lake Wind Farm in White County, and Hoosier Wind project in Benton County.

Indiana shouldn't only focus on wind energy projects on land as there is also a significant offshore wind energy potential  in the shallows of Lake Michigan along its shoreline. Despite this significant offshore wind potential Indiana still primarily focuses on wind energy projects on land that are significantly cheaper to build as compared to offshore wind farms. After all, Indiana still has plenty of room left to install wind energy projects on land, thanks to its many rural areas.

Wind farms in Indiana have positive environmental impact as they reduce the amount of carbon dioxide(CO2) emissions. According to the U.S. Department of Energy each 1000 MW of wind power capacity installed in Indiana will annually eliminate 3.1 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions.

In June 2012, Indiana adopted voluntary clean energy standard under which state needs to generate 10 percent of electricity from clean energy sources by 2025. Though this is not a mandatory renewable energy standard, it should still give further boost to rapid development of wind energy industry throughout the state.