24,300 MW: US Could Lead World in Installed Wind Capacity by End of 2008

illinois wind farm photo

photo: Thomas Merton

You’ve got to hand it to AWEA (the US wind industry trade association, in case you didn't know), they certainly do a good job of pumping up wind power. A bit over a month ago they announced that the US wind industry passed a milestone in terms of electricity generated from wind power over a year ahead of time, making the US the world’s number one wind power producer, and promised more details to come. Well, those details have arrived.

US Bests Germany For Wind Power Generation
In a press release, AWEA has announced that the United States now has 20,152 MW of installed wind power capacity and, while Germany currenly bests that by about 3,000 MW, the US actually generates more power from its capacity because of stronger wind speeds—though still doesn't say exactly how much electricity is actually generated. Furthermore, by the end of 2008 an additional 4,300 MW is expected to come online; at which point the US could best Germany in terms of power output as well as installed capacity.
Wind Power Still a Small Percentage of Overall Power Generation
While this rate of growth is substantial—there was 1000 MW of wind capacity in the US in 1985, 5000 MW in 2003, and 10,000 in 2006—AWEA doesn’t fail to point out that US wind capacity is still a very small percentage of overall electric generation (1.5%), and that there remains great potential to be tapped.

For those who live on comparisons: AWEA says current installed capacity in the US is sufficient to power 5.3 million average US homes, power a (potential) fleet of more than 1 million plug-in hybrid vehicles, generate a similar amount of power to 28.7 million tons of coal or 90 million barrels of oil.

:: American Wind Energy Association
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