Project Development, Wind Power

U.S. Wind Industry to Exceed 3,000 MW in 2007

The U.S. wind energy industry is on track to install more than 3,000 megawatts (MW) of wind power generating capacity nationwide in 2007, reported the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) May 11.

With more than 1,000 MW under construction in Texas alone, says AWEA, Texas is likely to account for about two-thirds of all new wind energy installations, demonstrating that Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) can play a key role in accelerating development. “Clean, cost-effective, inexhaustible, and readily available, wind power is an essential element of the solution to both climate change and America’s increasing demand for electricity,” said AWEA executive director Randall Swisher. “Texas recognized this business opportunity and successfully spurred wind power development with a Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS) and other forward-looking policies.” “The moment has come for the U.S. government to build on the example set by Texas and many other states, and enact a national RPS as part of any energy legislation it considers this year,” added Swisher. Fifty U.S. Senators recently called for a “strong” national RPS and it is likely that the U.S. Congress will consider RPS legislation this summer. A RPS uses market mechanisms to ensure that a growing percentage of electricity is produced from renewable sources. “Already one of our nation’s top agricultural producers, Texas is now reaping the benefits of being a top wind producer,” said Ned Meister, director of Commodity and Regulatory Activities for the Texas Farm Bureau. “Texas’ RPS is fueling new economic and environmental benefits for Texas farmers and ranchers.” Wind farms revitalize the economy of rural communities by providing steady income to farmers, ranchers, and other landowners. Each wind turbine contributes $3,000 to $5,000 per year or more in farm income, while 95%-98% of the farm’s land remains free for crops or grazing.