How's the US Wind Industry Doing? Manufacturing Growing More Slowly, But Record Installations in 2009

wind turbines photo

photo: Zechariah Judy via flickr.

The American Wind Energy Association has just released its annual market report for the US and the super-quick summary is 2009 saw record installation of wind power but though manufacturing continues to see growth, it's happening more slowly than in 2008. Here are the fast facts to remember:

  • In 2009 US wind power saw a record number of new installations, bringing an additional 10 GW online--a figure AWEA reminds us is enough to power 2.4 million average homes, and equivalent to about three large nuclear power plants.
  • Leading the way in US turbine sales was GE Energy; NextEra Energy Resources is the largest owner of wind farms; and, Xcel Energy leads utilities in wind power usage.
  • 36 states now have utility-scale wind power projects, with 14 states have more than a gigawatt of wind power installed.
  • Texas continues to lead the nation in terms of overall wind power capacity, but Iowa takes the number one spot for percentage of electricity generated by wind (14%).
  • Manufacturing continues to grow, with 10 new facilities coming online, 9 expanded, and 20 announced. That said, this growth is at a slower rate than in 2008. All 50 states now have jobs in the wind power sector in one form or another, with about 85,000 people employed nationwide.
  • There are now slightly over 200 educational programs available related to wind energy offering certificates, degrees, or coursework. Those are split nearly evenly between university and college programs, and community college or vocational schools.
  • Small-scale wind power (100 kW or less) grew by 15% last year, adding 20 MW of electrical capacity nationwide.
  • Though the US still does not have a single fully operational offshore wind power project, it now has seven projects "with significant progress in the planning, permitting, and testing process."
  • All told, the United States now has a wind power capacity of 35 GW, sufficient according to AWEA's calculations to avoid 62 million tons of CO2 emissions annually, or equivalent to taking 10.5 million cars off the road.

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More on Wind Power:
Wind Power Soared Past 150,000 Megawatts in 2009
US Gains 2500 Gigawatts of Wind Power Potential Thanks to Taller Turbines
'Chinese' Wind Farm in Texas: Green Jobs FAIL?

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