Wind Energy Continues on Fast Growth Pace

John Davis

AWEA2The U.S. wind energy sector has added 4,000 megawatts (MW) of capacity in the first six months of this year, outpacing the first half of 2008’s 2,900 MW.

The American Wind Energy Association’s second quarter (Q2) market report released today says the U.S. added 1,200 in this most recent quarter, with Missouri showing the greatest growth of all the states. Good news, right? Well, there are some troubling aspects in the report:

While the number of completed wind farm installations was solid, AWEA said it is seeing a reduced number of orders and lower level of activity in manufacturing of wind turbines and their components, a development it termed troubling in view of the fact that the U.S. industry was previously on track for much larger growth and the global wind power industry is continuing to expand.

“The numbers are in, and while they show the industry has been swimming upstream, adding some 4,000 MW over the past six months, the fact is that we could be delivering so much more,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Our challenge now is to seize the historic opportunity before us to unleash this entrepreneurial force and build up an entire new industry here in the U.S. that will create jobs, avoid carbon, and strengthen our energy security. To achieve that, Congress and the Administration must pass a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) with strong early targets.”

During the second quarter, the U.S. wind energy industry completed a total of 1,210 MW in 10 states, enough to power the equivalent of about 350,000 homes. These new installations nudge total U.S. wind power generating capacity to 29,440 MW, according to the report. The U.S. wind power generating fleet now offsets an average of 54 million tons of carbon annually, reducing carbon emissions from the electricity sector by 2% or the equivalent of taking 9 million cars off the road.

The state posting the fastest growth in the 2nd quarter was Missouri, where wind power installations expanded by 90%.

Texas still leads the nation in wind energy, in the amount added during the past quarter with 454 MW and total wind power at 8,361 MW. Iowa remains at #2 in overall wind power (3,043 MW), and California is next at 2,787 MW.