A new report (PDF) from the American Wind Energy Association confirms that 2010 was a disastrous year for the wind industry. After seeing strong growth in new capacity nearly every year for a decade, wind installations in 2010 fell by nearly half from 2009.

In Minnesota, though, three large wind farms went online in the fourth quarter of 2010, pushing the state past Washington as the fourth largest wind producer in the U.S.:

Here’s how the other states measure up:

The Elm Creek II, Nobles and Ridgewind projects together account for 275 MW of installed capacity, about 5% of the total growth in the U.S. for 2010.

AWEA expects 2011 to be a better year, as more than 5,300 MW of new wind capacity are already under construction.

Ken is the director of the Energy News Network at Fresh Energy and is a founding editor of both Midwest Energy News and Southeast Energy News. Prior to joining Fresh Energy, he was the managing editor for online news at Minnesota Public Radio. He started his journalism career in 2002 as a copy editor for the Duluth News Tribune before spending five years at the Spokesman-Review in Spokane, Washington, where he worked as a copy editor, online producer, features editor and night city editor. A Nebraska native, Ken has a bachelor's degree from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a master's degree from the University of Oregon. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and Investigative Reporters and Editors.

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