Record-Setting 8.5 GW of New US Wind Power Capacity Added in 2008

wind power turbines photo

photo: Will De Freitas via flickr

If nothing else, the American Wind Energy Association is a great promoter of every US wind power growth stat a researcher could want. And true to that, according to their latest press release US wind power installations set a new growth record in 2008. Which is a certainly a good thing, but the year ended on a downturn (as if you couldn't guess that):Total US Wind Power Capacity Tops 25 Gigawatts
AWEA's figures show that in 2008, the United States and 8,538 MW of new generating capacity, an amount AWEA highlights as being enough to serve over 2 million homes. Of that total amount, 4122 MW was brought online in the 4th quarter of the year. This new capacity accounted for 42% of all new added power generating capacity last year: Total US wind power capacity now reaches 25,170 MW.

Texas Still Leads the Wind Power Pack
In terms of what this means for states: Texas still leads the way with 7116 MW; Iowa takes second with 2790 MW; California is in third with 2517 MW; Minnesota comes in fourth with 1752 MW; and, rounding out the top five US wind power states, is Washington with 1375 MW. Colorado and Oregon get honorable mention, with each now having more than 1000 MW of installed wind power capacity.

Recession Hits Wind Power, Too
AWEA notes however, that as the recession began unfolding in the latter part of 2008, financing for projects began to dry up (Pickens delaying The Plan, anyone?), orders for turbine components "slowed to a trickle" and layoffs began hitting wind turbine manufacturing, as they did elsewhere across the nation.

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