Wind Energy Grows; Manufacturing Keeps Pace

John Davis

The Department of Energy has released a report on the expansion of wind energy in the U.S. and the U.S. manufacturing that is supporting the surge. The nation was one of the world’s largest and fastest growing wind markets in the world in 2011. Wind power represented 32-percent of all new electric capacity added in the U.S. last year. The states of Texas, Iowa, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Washington, Oregon, Oklahoma, Colorado and North Dakota were leading the way with the most installed wind capacity at the end of 2011 and account for almost 75-percent of U.S. wind capacity. Overall – the U.S. has now installed 50 gigawatts of wind energy. The turbines power the equivalent of nearly 13-million American homes. It’s estimated the wind energy industry supports 75-thousand full-time jobs at more than 400 facilities across 43 states.

The Energy Department says the percentage of wind equipment made in the United States has also expanded dramatically. In fact – nearly 70-percent of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year – including wind turbines and components like towers, blades, gears and generators – was made in the U.S. That’s up from just 35-percent in 2005.

The growth in domestic wind energy deployment could dramatically slow in 2013 – according to the Department of Energy report. This is due in part to the possible expiration of federal renewable energy tax incentives. The Production Tax Credit is set to expire at the end of the year. This credit has helped drive the industry’s growth and the wind industry projects 37-thousand jobs could be lost if the credit is allowed to expire. President Obama has called on Congress to pass legislation that extends the credit.

Government, Wind