Congratulations are in order to North Dakota for being the first U.S. state to generate more of their annual electricity needs from wind than Denmark. In fact, North Dakota first passed Denmark in August of last year when wind generation climbed to 38.4% of their 12 month total: just ahead of Denmark’s 38.2%. Since then North Dakota wind use has accelerated and, by the end of April this year, was well ahead of Denmark and Iowa: both of whom were at 39.7%. North Dakota’s achievement is particularly impressive coming as it does from a Republican state which, only 14 years ago, had no installed wind energy and for which coal-fired generation met 100% of in-state electricity demand.
A word on methodology: Texas and Iowa – also both Republican states – are generally considered to be the U.S. leaders in wind energy: Texas for having the largest installed wind capacity and Iowa for producing most electricity as a percentage of total generation. However Denmark reports wind energy usage as a percentage of national electricity consumption which, one could argue, is more logical since it provides a better measure of the ability of local generation to meet local needs. If U.S. states are ranked the same way, there are some significant changes: most notably, as we have shown, North Dakota leaps ahead of Denmark (and Iowa and Texas!)