President Obama’s last State of the Union address (SOTU) will take place tonight and one topic on the docket: clean energy. As noted by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), wind energy has led the sector in progress.
“This American success story is not only helping us build a better world for our children, it’s also helping consumers save money,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “Wind energy’s continuing growth is something that should make all Americans proud.” He notes several key areas in which the wind energy has seen great accomplishments.
1. Adding more capacity than any other energy source, leading the country with 47 percent of all new electric generating capacity in 2015 (followed by gas at 35 percent and solar at 14 percent).
2. More than quadrupling total capacity since 2008 – up from 16,702 MW installed at the start of that year to over 70,000 MW as of November 2015. That is enough energy to supply over 19 million American homes.
3. Cutting costs 66 percent in six years because of technological advances spurred by American ingenuity and domestic manufacturing.
4. Setting records for share of the electricity mix across entire states and regions. Iowa is approaching 30 percent, South Dakota 25 percent, and Kansas is over 20 percent of electricity from wind year-round; in total nine states are over 12 percent. At one point in November on the main Colorado grid, wind met over 66 percent of the electricity demand.
5. Creating well-paying jobs. The fastest-growing profession in America today is “wind turbine technician,” growing at more than twice the rate of the second-fastest-growing profession. Today’s 73,000 U.S. jobs in wind energy can grow to 380,000 jobs within 15 years, according to the Department of Energy’s recent “Wind Vision” report.
6. 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 percent of the additional energy in the lowest-cost compliance solution for the Clean Power Plan.
7. 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.