U.S. Wind Energy Industry Reports Growth in 2009
An Annual Report from the AWEA Reports Record Growth
Amidst a slowly improving economy, the wind energy industry saw a lot of growth and movement in 2009.
An annual report released in early April by the American Wind Energy Association showed the addition of more than 10,000 MW of new wind power across the U.S.-bringing the total to more than 35,000 MW overall.
Wind continues to be the leader among renewable energy resources, accounting for more than 39 percent of new power sources added to the grid.
Denise Bode, CEO of AWEA, said in a statement that the wind energy industry is "on the verge of explosive growth if the right policies-including a national Renewable Electricity Standard-are put in place."
The report also added offshore wind as a category, with 12 proposed projects off the East Coast and in Lake Eerie and the Gulf of Mexico.
GE continues to be the leading company in wind turbine sales, although the report does indicate some diversification within the industry.
Eight companies own more than 1,000 MW of wind assets-up from five in 2008.
2009 also saw a 15 percent growth in the small turbine market.
Also within the last year, Iowa became the first state to get more than 10 percent of its electricity from wind.
Neighboring states North Dakota and Minnesota were close to the 10 percent mark, while Texas remains the leader in wind farms.
However, despite its growth, the wind energy industry is still feeling the lag of the economy with the decline of turbine manufacturing - only 39 new turbine factories came on line in 2009, down from 58 the year before.
The AWEA's report called for a national Renewable Electric Standard and infrastructure updates to connect nearly 300,000 MW of proposed wind projects that await interconnection to the electric grid.
The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that reaching 20 percent wind power will cost $60 billion in new wind-power transmission by 2030 - an amount that may intimidate Americans and hinder wind development through 2010.
Still, the wind energy industry may continue to see steady growth throughout the next year.
Until next time,