Wind Power Experiences Record Growth in 2008
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by Kevin Maddaford on 02/02/2009
The amount of wind power installed in the US last year exceeded even the highest expectations.
Last year's projects increased U.S. wind power generating capacity by 50%, for a total of 25,170 MW of capacity (enough to power almost 7 million homes). Texas leads the country with 7,116 MW, and Iowa surpassed California for second with 2,790 MW. In the end, around $17 billion was invested in a year in which wind power accounted for almost 42% of all new power generation capacity added.
At year's end, however, orders for turbine components dropped off, and the job losses rippling through the manufacturing sector made their way to the wind power industry. The financial crisis has threatened funding for projects, putting the brakes on turbine demand and forcing manufacturers to cut jobs. 2008 saw an additional 35,000 people employed in the wind industry over the previous year, but these jobs-especially those in manufacturing and construction-could be in jeopardy if projects can't secure financing.
The Obama Administration and Congress are working to craft an economic stimulus package that may include important changes to tax incentives to help wind farm developers build projects. With short- and long-term policies that support renewables, wind power could continue its strong growth.
You can read more about this on the AWEA website here.
It is exciting to see how much wind power is growing and being assimilated into our electricity mix, but we are at risk of losing that momentum. It is important for the Administration and Congress to create legislation that will help this momentum carry our country in a new direction. ~ Kevin
Kevin Maddaford is a Customer Service and Resource Development Associate at Renewable Choice Energy.