AWEA Report: Wind Industry Continues Growth, Despite Slow Economy, Unpredictable Policies

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The U.S. wind power industry grew by 15% in 2010 and provided 26% of all new electric generating capacity in the country, according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report for 2010. With the 5,116 MW added last year, U.S. wind installations now stand at 40,181 MW, enough to supply electricity for over 10 million American homes.

‘The American wind industry is delivering, despite competing with energy sectors that have permanent government subsidies in place,’ says Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. ‘Wind is consistently performing, adding 35 percent of all new generating capacity since 2007 – that's twice what coal and nuclear added combined.’

Statistics from AWEA's reveal that wind continues to be an important player in the nation's energy sector, with lower costs competitive with other generation sources, and it is second in new generation capacity only to natural gas.

In addition to wind power's increased affordability, the 1603 investment tax credit program contributed to new project starts in 2010. On top of new construction starts, 2010 saw new manufacturing as well. The industry brought 14 new manufacturing facilities online, consistent with 2009.

The U.S. wind market entered 2011 with 5,600 MW under construction – more than twice the number of megawatts under construction at the start of 2010. The extension of the 1603 tax credit in December 2010 provided a signal to investors to continue growing wind in the U.S., as this strong performance indicates.

However, the U.S. remains reliant on a few conventional energy sources and needs to further diversify its energy portfolio, according to AWEA.

SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association

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