Wind power installations have dropped by 57% and 71% from 2008 and 2009 levels, respectively, with only 700 MW being installed in the second quarter of this year, according to the American Wind Energy Association's (AWEA) Mid-Year 2010 Market Report.
Manufacturing investment also continues to lag below 2008 and 2009 levels. AWEA and a broad coalition of renewable energy, labor, utility and environmental organizations are calling on Congress to put in place a strong national renewable electricity standard (RES) to spur demand for renewable energy, attract manufacturing investment, and save and create jobs.
‘Strong federal policy supporting the U.S. wind energy industry has never been more important,’ says Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA. ‘We have a historic opportunity to build a major new manufacturing industry. Without strong, supportive policy like an RES to spur demand, investment and jobs, manufacturing facilities will go idle and lay off workers if Congress doesn't act now – before time runs out this session.’
According to a national poll conducted by Public Opinion Strategies and Bennett, Petts & Normington, an RES is popular among U.S. voters with strong support across party lines, with 65% of Republican voters, 69% of Independents and 92% of Democrats favoring the legislation.
Highlights of the report also include the following:
– Even with over 5,500 MW under construction and a more active second half of this year in store, AWEA projects that 2010 installations will likely be 25% to 45% below 2009 installations, depending on policy developments;
– There is a dramatic drop in the project development pipeline after the 5,500 MW under construction – that is, there is no demand beyond the present ‘coasting momentum;’
– The American Recovery & Reinvestment Act funding is key to bringing projects that are already in the pipeline to the finish line, and this happened in a spectacular way in 2009 with 10,000 MW of new wind power installed.
– While wind turbine orders saw a slight uptick in the second quarter – mostly for delivery this year – the order level continues to be below what is needed to drive more manufacturing; and
– To date this year, the U.S. has installed more coal and natural gas power plants than wind and other renewable energy sources. By contrast, during the previous two years, wind roughly matched new natural gas, and together the two sources accounted for about 90% of all new annual generating capacity installed over the past five years.
Read the full report online at awea.org.
SOURCE: American Wind Energy Association