The World's #1 Renewable Energy Network for News, Information, and Companies.

Installed US Wind Energy Capacity Grows by Record 8,300 MW

The U.S. wind energy industry shattered all previous records in 2008 by installing 8,358 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported this week as it warned of an uncertain outlook for 2009 due to the continuing financial crisis.

The massive growth in 2008 swelled the nation’s total wind power generating capacity by 50% and channeled an investment of some US $17 billion into the economy, positioning wind power as one of the leading sources of new power generation in the country today along with natural gas, AWEA added.  At year’s end, however, financing for new projects and orders for turbine components slowed to a trickle and layoffs began to hit the wind turbine manufacturing sector.     

“Our numbers are both exciting and sobering,” said Denise Bode, AWEA's CEO. “The U.S. wind energy industry’s performance in 2008 confirms that wind is an economic and job creation dynamo, ready to deliver on the President’s call to double renewable energy production in three years. At the same time, it is clear that the economic and financial downturn have begun to take a serious toll on new wind development. We are already seeing layoffs in the area where wind’s promise is greatest for our economy: the wind power manufacturing sector. Quick action in the stimulus bill is vital to restore the industry’s momentum and create jobs as we help make our country more secure and leave a more stable climate for our children.”  

The new wind projects completed in 2008 account for about 42% of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally last year, according to initial estimates, and will avoid nearly 44 million tons of carbon emissions, the equivalent of taking over 7 million cars off of the road.    

The amount that the industry brought online in the 4th quarter alone - 4112 MW - exceeds annual additions for every year except 2007.  In all, wind energy generating capacity in the U.S. now stands at 25,170 MW, producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of close to 7 million households and strengthening our national energy supply with a clean, inexhaustible, homegrown source of energy.  

Oregon moved into the club of states with more than 1,00 0MW installed, which now includes Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Washington, Colorado and Oregon. Iowa, with 2,790 MW installed, surpassed California (2,517MW) in wind power generating capacity. The top five states in terms of capacity installed are now:

  1. Texas: 7116 MW
  2. Iowa: 2790 MW
  3. California: 2517 MW
  4. Minnesota: 1752 MW
  5. Washington: 1375 MW

About 85,000 people are employed in the wind industry today, up from 50,000 a year ago, and hold jobs in areas as varied as turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, and more. About 8,000 of these jobs are construction jobs, and a significant number of those will be lost in 2009 if financing for the pipeline of new projects is not quickly restored.  

“The hope is that provisions such as those included in the House stimulus bill to restore the effectiveness of the tax incentives for renewable energy will quickly become law and provide the capital needed to continue to build projects,” said Bode.  “Because wind projects can be built quickly, positive legislation from Congress will have immediate and visible effects.  Looking forward, it will also be important for the new Administration and Congress to put in place long-term, supportive renewable energy policies to make the new clean energy economy a reality.”

RELATED ARTICLES

The Big Question: What Is the Most Frustrating Part about Working in Renewable Energy?

Renewable Energy World Editors

Every industry has its challenges and misunderstandings. Sometimes the obstacles we face in simply trying to do our jobs can be very frustrating.

Renewable energy community

State and Metro Governments, Consumer Actions Drive Dramatic Shift in US Energy Landscape

Ron Pernick, Clean Edge The United States is experiencing a significant shift in its energy landscape. Last year, utility-scale wind and solar power combined for 47 percent of new generation capacity in the U.S. Based on this expansion, 11 states ...

Understanding the Yieldco Structure for Renewable Energy Project Finance

Gregory F. Jenner, Edward D. Einowski and Adam D. Schurle, Contributors In the 1950s, the federal government sought to boost home ownership by increasing private lending. To this end, the government facilitated mortgage lending by creating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. They provided liquidity to ...

May Dividends Rise: Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2015

Tom Konrad, Contributor My Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2015 model portfolio had a good May, despite headwinds from the strengthening dollar and declines in clean energy stocks in general.  As a whole, the model portfolio rose 2.2% for th...

CURRENT MAGAZINE ISSUE

Volume 18, Issue 3
1505REW_C11

STAY CONNECTED

To register for our free
e-Newsletters, subscribe today:

SOCIAL ACTIVITY

Tweet the Editors! @megcichon @jennrunyon

FEATURED PARTNERS



EVENTS

Doing Business in Brazil – in partnership with GWEC, the Global Win...

Brazil is one of the most promising markets for wind energy.  Ranke...

Mastering RETScreen® 4 for Clean Energy Project Analysis

Hands-on modeling class using RETScreen 4. Michael Ross designed this co...

RECAM WEEK

RECAM WEEK will bring together the incredibly successful SPG Central Am...

COMPANY BLOGS

Meteorological Technology International Magazine - SENSORS AND SENS...

Over the past 10 years, these sensing technologies have spread tre...

SunEdison Expands Residential Market Offerings with New PPA, Sales ...

SunEdison has largely focussed on the commercial and utility-scale solar...

Are You Ready for a Natural Disaster?

Guest post by Jenna Clarke  Living in the Shenandoah Valley of Virg...

NEWSLETTERS

Renewable Energy: Subscribe Now

Solar Energy: Subscribe Now

Wind Energy: Subscribe Now

Geothermal Energy: Subscribe Now

Bioenergy: Subscribe Now  

 

FEATURED PARTNERS