Good news! Wind and solar power double under Obama

Department of Energy/Public Domain

During the first four years of President Obama's administration, US electricity from wind and solar more than doubled, according to two new reports released today by the Department of Energy. "Wind energy", according to the report, "is also now the fastest growing source of power in the United States – representing 43 percent of all new U.S. electric generation capacity in 2012 and $25 billion in new investment."

As the graphic above illustrates, America’s wind industry is booming. In 2012, over 13 gigawatts of new wind power capacity was added to the U.S. grid – nearly double the wind capacity deployed in 2011. This tremendous growth helped us surpass 60 gigawatts of total capacity at the end of 2012 – enough capacity to power all the homes in California and Washington State combined. As energy production goes, so does manufacturing. The 2012 Wind Technologies Market Report estimates that 72 percent of the wind turbine equipment – including towers, blades and gears – installed in the U.S. last year was made in America. This growth in domestic wind manufacturing is creating thousands of new jobs across the country. Industry estimates the wind sector employs more than 80,000 American workers across a variety of sectors, including finance, engineering, construction and project development .

Nine states now rely on wind for more than 12 percent of their total annual energy consumption, and in Iowa, South Dakota and Kansas, wind is contributing more than 20 percent. At the same time, technological innovation and lower maintenance and hardware costs are spurring near-record low prices for wind power. In 2011 and 2012 the price of wind under long-term power purchase contracts averaged just 4 cents per kilowatt hour.

Here's a video that was released along with the new wind power reports:

To hear more about this from Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, you can join a Google+ Hangout, hosted by the Energy Department on Thursday, at 3pm ET.

Tags: Alternative Energy | Barack Obama | Solar Energy | Wind Power

Best of TreeHugger