Wind Energy Update
Electricity generated by the doubling of the U.S.’s crop of giant wind turbines in the past four years now equals the output of 11 nuclear power plants, according to the American Wind Energy Association, a trade group representing manufacturers and developers. AWEA says that a surge in wind projects since 2008 has pushed the sector past 50,000 megawatts, enough electricity for 13 million homes — or all the residences in Nevada, Colorado, Wisconsin, Virginia, Alabama, and Connecticut combined.
The second quarter of 2012 saw 1,200 megawatts (MW) of wind power capacity installed, bringing the first half of 2012 to 2,896 MW. The U.S. wind industry now totals 49,802 MW of cumulative wind capacity through the end of the first half of 2012. There are over 10,300 MW currently under construction spanning 30 states plus Puerto Rico. The U.S. wind industry has added over 35% of all new generating capacity over the past 5 years, second only to natural gas, and more than nuclear and coal combined. Today, U.S. wind power capacity represents more than 20% of the world's installed wind power.
Today, the U.S. wind industry represents not only a large market for wind power capacity installations, but also a growing market for American manufacturing. Over 470 manufacturing facilities across the U.S. make components for wind turbines, and dedicated wind facilities that manufacture major components such as towers, blades and assembled nacelles can be found in every region.
Whether renewable power can continue to increase may well depend on future tax credits which are far from certain. However, progress is quite credible to date.
For further information see Wind.
Wind Mill image via Wikipedia.