Report says wind energy grew in the U.S. in 2009

by Antonio Pasolini on January 29, 2010

Modern wind energy plant in rural scenery.
Image via Wikipedia

The wind energy industry in the U.S. enjoyed a record-breaking year in 2009, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The organization said in its Q4 report that the industry installed nearly 10,000 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2009, which is enough to serve over 2.4 million homes). However, the industry still lags in manufacturing.

Wind has caught up with natural gas and the two sources account for about 80% of the new capacity added in the country in 2009.

“The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all installation records in 2009, chalking up the Recovery Act as a historic success in creating jobs, avoiding carbon, and protecting consumers,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “But U.S. wind turbine manufacturing – the canary in the mine — is down compared to last year’s levels, and needs long-term policy certainty and market pull in order to grow. We need to set hard targets, in the form of a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES), in order to provide the necessary stability for manufacturers to expand their U.S. operations and to seize the historic opportunity we have today to build up a thriving renewable energy industry.”

The Recovery Act is credited as the main driving force of the growth reported. It spurred the growth of construction, operations and maintenance, and management jobs, helping the industry to save and create jobs in those sectors and shine as a bright spot in the economy. But lack of a long-term policy and market signal allowed investment in the manufacturing sector to drop compared to 2008, with one-third fewer wind power manufacturing facilities online, announced and expanded in 2009.

Total wind power capacity in the U.S is now over 35,000MW and the five-year average annual growth rate for the industry is now 39%, up from 32% between 2003 and 2008. America’s wind power fleet will avoid an estimated 62 million tons of carbon dioxide annually, equivalent to taking 10.5 million cars off the road, and will conserve approximately 20 billion gallons of water annually, which would otherwise be consumed for steam or cooling in conventional power plants.

Plus: Podcast: Can Renewables Really Power our Cities?

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Related Posts:

Previous post:

Next post: