As I mentioned yesterday about solar -- when you start talking GWs (gigawatts = 1 billion watts), we're dealing with significant amounts of energy. And I'm proud to say that my home state of New York just became the 8th state in the country to have over 1 GW in wind power online.
New York had 832 MW at the end of 2008, and our friends at Renewable Energy World reported today on the completion of an additional 330 MW upstate. The grand total is now ~1.162 GW, which can provide ~2.4% of our state's electricity demand. With the latest installations, NY passed Wisconsin, Hawaii, Washington, and Illinois in % penetration to 16th place behind California. The state has onshore wind potential to grow to six times the current installation level, and could grow further toward wind at a 20% share of electricity with offshore wind farms in the years ahead.
We are still talking a small fraction of our national electric grid, which has a total capacity of ~1 TW (terawatt = 1 trillion watts). But hundreds of GWs are off-line most of the time when demand is not at its summer peak, so wind's current ~25.5 GW can provide almost 2% of US electrical demand. If we stabilize our electrical demand by deploying efficiency, each additional percent of the pie taken by wind from coal, oil, and natural gas is a significant drop in greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.
Congratulations, New York! And here's to continued quick wind power growth here and throughout the country in the months and years to come.