2010 was record year for U.S. small wind

The American Wind Energy Assoc. says the U.S. small wind industry expanded by 26 percent in 2010, with 25.6 MW of capacity added. AWEA also says Texas set a record for one-day wind energy output.

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The American Wind Energy Assoc. (AWEA, Washington, D.C.) reported on Oct. 20 that America’s small wind turbine industry saw substantial growth in 2010, highlighted by a 26 percent expansion in the market for small wind systems with 25.6 MW of capacity added, as well as a robust increase in sales revenue. Nearly 8,000 small wind units were sold last year, totaling $139 million in sales.

Small wind turbines are defined as those that are 100 kW and smaller. The U.S. small wind industry represents an estimated 1,500 full-time equivalent jobs. With small wind scaling up during the last few years, its benefits are becoming more noticeable. Growth in 2010 pushed cumulative sales in the U.S. to an estimated 179 MW of capacity — a total that reaches well into the range of many utility-scale wind farms. The 2010 U.S. Small Wind Market Report can be accessed at awea.org/learnabout/smallwind/index.cfm.

AWEA also reported on Oct. 18 that the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT, the main Texas electric grid) set a new output record on Oct. 7. That afternoon, wind generated a record 15.2 percent of ERCOT's demand for electricity, or 7,400 MW. According to ERCOT, wind energy represents nearly 58 percent of all new generation seen in planning stages over the next few years in Texas.