The American Wind Energy Assn. (AWEA, Washington, D.C.) reports that the U.S. wind industry installed 539 MW in the first quarter of 2010, the lowest first-quarter figure since 2007. Although the industry installed more than 10,000 MW in 2009 with help from stimulus funds, the lack of long-term market signals, combined with low power demand and price, has slowed the flow in the wind farm pipeline.
AWEA notes that the up/down cycle of wind turbine installations in the past few years — which corresponds to insecurity about U.S. energy policy — has created a poor environment for long-term investment decisions, and must be broken. Although some wind companies have committed to U.S. facilities despite the market’s booms and busts, much greater growth would result if these and other companies could see signs of market stability and U.S. commitment to long-term renewable energy policy. Therefore, AWEA has called on the U.S. Congress to create a national renewable electricity standard (RES) to provide the targets needed to stabilize it.