AWEA: National Policy Commitment Urgently Needed To Ensure Greater Use Of Wind Power

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The U.S. gets a solid B for its 2008 progress toward reaching 20% of electricity supply from wind energy by 2030, but could be ‘at the high-water mark’ for wind without a strong and immediate national policy commitment to renewable energy, according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

AWEA's ‘20% Wind Report Card’ follows up on the release of the ‘20% Wind by 2030’ technical report issued by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in May 2008. Prepared by an in-house team of experts, some of whom worked on the DOE report, the report card examines progress in four key areas: technology development, manufacturing, siting, and transmission and integration.

‘The DOE report found that 20% wind energy is feasible and would carry with it a host of benefits for our economy, environment and energy security, including half a million jobs,’ says Rob Gramlich, senior vice president of public policy at AWEA. ‘While headway has been made, today could become a high-water mark unless Congress enacts a renewable electricity standard with strong near-term targets.’

The AWEA Report Card gave a C- to the nation's efforts on transmission, with the other indicator areas graded as follows: Technology development, A-; manufacturing, B+; and siting, B. (The report card does not grade progress on national policies to advance wind power, as those were not examined in the DOE report.)

In 2008, the nation made great strides toward 20% wind, with wind accounting for 40% of the nation's new generating capacity, the report card notes. In 2009, wind farm development is expected to slow sharply.

According to AWEA, key policy ingredients needed to put the U.S. back on track to reach 20% wind by 2030 include the following:

– a strong renewable electricity standard with aggressive near-term targets in energy legislation now pending in Congress; and

– energy legislation that addresses top transmission issues: planning, paying for, and siting new power lines.

For more information, visit awea.org.

SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association

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