New U.S. Wind Power Capacity Might Beat Natural Gas and Coal in 2012
Slightly Ahead as of November, Expecting a Strong Finish in DecemberWe only have data up to November 30th so far, so we can't be sure what the final 2012 numbers will look like, but for the first 11 months of the year, new installed wind power in the United States adds up to 6,519 megawatts. That's more than natural gas at 6,335 megawatts, and more than twice the number of megawatts of coal. Part of the reason for this boom in wind power is because turbines are become cheaper and more efficient all the time, but also to take advantage of a 2.2 cents/kWh renewable energy tax credit that ended up surviving the fiscal cliff deal, but that could have been cut after December 31st.
“It shows that wind has firmly planted its foothold as a valuable energy source,” Jacob Susman, chief executive officer of New York wind developer OwnEnergy Inc., said in an interview. “Five years ago we had to drag utilities in kicking and screaming. Now they’ve got teams of experts who understand its value.” (source)
With the tax credit extended at least another year, 2013 should also be a good year for wind power. In fact, if natural gas prices rise a bit more, 2013 might turn out to be a more decisive victory for wind power, and we'll all be winners if that happens since once built, these turbines produce electricity without any fuel costs or CO2 emissions for decades.