Continuing a major growth trend, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) announced November 7 a substantial increase in the projected installation of new wind energy facilities in 2007.
Previous projections for a record-setting 3,000 megawatts (MW) of new wind power capacity in 2007 have now been raised: AWEA reports that the U.S. wind energy industry is currently on track to complete a total 4,000 MW in 2007, shattering its 2006 record of 2,454 MW, and generating enough new electricity to power the equivalent of over one million homes.
In its third quarter market report, AWEA also reports that the industry has already added over 2,300 MW of generating capacity to the nation's electrical grid so far this year with a total of more than 5,000 MW in various stages of construction, establishing wind as one of the largest sources of new power in the country today.
"The U.S wind energy industry is going to exceed what was already a record projection for installations this year,"said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. "This is great news because it means that new, readily available, clean generation is reaching consumers at a time when electricity demand and global warming concerns are both on the rise.
"But the not-so-good news is that, even as we face these twin challenges [climate change and growing energy demand], our country does not have a long-term, national policy in place to promote renewable energy development.â€
The federal production tax credit (PTC) for renewable energy will expire in December 2008, and there is no national renewable electricity standard (RES) or other long-term policy in place.
Commented Swisher, "A national long-term policy to promote renewable energy, like the Renewable Electricity Standard approved by the House of Representatives in August, is essential for wind and other renewable energy industries to grow successfully and cost-effectively. The U.S. wind energy industry urges Congressional leaders and the President to work together and bring to the finish line energy legislation that extends the production tax credit and establishes a national standard for renewable electricity.
"In addition to strengthening energy security and fighting global warming, more wind power and renewables will help stabilize electricity costs, and will create economic opportunity in both industrial and rural America.â€
Wind power is delivering a generous return on public investment: the continuity in the PTC since 2005 has spurred both record-breaking new generating capacity (2,431 MW added in 2005, 2,454 MW in 2006, about 4,000 MW expected in 2007) and a wave of investment in manufacturing facilities and services across the country, including in states that do not have a large wind resource. Additional returns include lower pollution costs, and growing income for communities in which wind farms are installed.
The U.S. wind energy industry completed 1,251 MW of wind power generation since last reported, bringing the total installed to date this year to 2,310 MW and the total cumulative wind power generating capacity in the country to 13,885 MW, according to AWEA. One megawatt of wind power produces enough electricity on average to serve 250 to 300 American homes.
State highlights include:
-Texas again added the largest amount of new wind power generation (600 MW);
-Colorado installed 264 MW and now ranks as the state with the sixth-largest amount of wind power generation;
-Washington, with 140 MW of new wind capacity, pulls ahead of Minnesota into 4th place;
-Missouri saw the completion of its first utility-scale wind farm, a 56.7-MW project that generates power for electric cooperatives in the region and that makes Missouri the state with the 21st largest amount of wind power now installed;
-Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Iowa also saw the completion of utility-scale projects.
For a full list of projects completed this quarter, listing of states by capacity installed, and additional market information see http://www.awea.org/projects/
Photo source: LM Glasfiber