During his final State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama plans to talk about progress, including in clean energy. In the lead-up to the speech, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) is declaring that wind power has led the U.S. clean energy industry with the following recent progress:
– Adding more capacity than any other energy source, leading the country with 47% of all new electric generating capacity in 2015 (followed by natural gas at 35% and solar at 14%).
– More than quadrupling total capacity since 2008 – up from 16,702 MW installed at the start of that year to over 70 GW as of November 2015. That is enough energy to supply over 19 million American homes.
– Cutting costs 66% in six years because of technological advances spurred by ingenuity and domestic manufacturing.
– Setting records for share of the electricity mix across entire states and regions. Iowa is approaching 30%, South Dakota 25%, and Kansas is over 20% of electricity from wind year-round; in total, nine states are over 12%. At one point in November on the main Colorado grid, wind met over 66% of the electricity demand.
– Affordably reducing carbon pollution. A recent study by the Energy Information Administration found that wind energy consistently emerged as the most cost-effective method of reducing emissions, supplying 57% of the additional energy in the lowest-cost compliance solution for the Clean Power Plan.
– Saving money for consumers, companies and cities while also achieving their sustainability goals. Google, Amazon and Proctor & Gamble all recently made large wind energy purchases, while cities from San Diego to Washington, D.C., are increasing their share of renewable energy. Stably priced wind energy saved Midwest consumers $1 billion in just two days when the price of other fuels spiked during the Polar Vortex event in January 2014.
“This American success story is not only helping us build a better world for our children, it’s also helping consumers save money,” says Tom Kiernan, CEO of AWEA. “Wind energy’s continuing growth is something that should make all Americans proud.”