LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KTHV) -- The U.S. wind industry's 2011 Annual Market Report shows that American wind power is at the heart of an American success story ending another strong year of double-digit growth.
The market report illustrates how wind power has created a positive feedback loop where market certainty allows for states to generate affordable electricity from wind at record levels, which leads to one of America's fastest growing sources of Made-in-the-USA manufacturing jobs, which then allows the cost of wind to drop even further.
The U.S. Wind Industry's Annual Market Report list Arkansas as one of the top states attracting major wind energy manufactures. LM windpower, a Denmark based company recently brought thousands of jobs to the state with the opening of their blade plant in Little Rock.
Lance Turner, Arkansas Business Interactive Editor says, wind power is an emerging industry.
"Wind energy has been around for sometime, but more and more we are looking alternative sources for fuel. As oil and gas get gets more expensive we're still going to want to find cheaper, cleaner ways producing the energy that we need and wind is one of those."
According to the Natural Resource Defense Council, Arkansas generates nearly half its electricity from coal-fired power plants, and most of the remainder from nuclear and natural gas.
The council also ranks Arkansas 27 out of of 50 states for wind power potential. For now Turner says, we're just sharing in economic benefits of the growing wind energy industry.
"What we've shown is a knack for so far in wind energy is the manufacturing end of things. Actually making the components. Everything from the turbines to the blades. Arkansas traditionally has been a strong manufacturing state, that's deeply ingrained in our history."
With most wind farms being located in the central united states, Arkansas sits in a prime position, but with any growing industry Turner says, there comes setbacks.
" Mitsibushi is probably the most notable setback, that plant in fort smith that's supposed to manufacture the wind turbines they've put that on hold for now."
Turner feels confident though that when the demand for wind energy increases, that plant will thrive.
And the American Wind Energy Association estimates planned wind-related manufacturing will create nearly three thousand jobs in the state.