AWEA: U.S. Wind Industry Blowing Past Previous Development Records

The U.S. wind industry is on track to complete roughly 4,000 megawatts (MW) of wind projects in 2007, shattering the 2006 record of 2,454 MW and solidifying wind as a major source of new power in the country today, according to a new market report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

In its third quarter market report, AWEA said that the industry has added over 2,300 MW of generating capacity to the nation’s electrical grid so far this year, with a total of more than 5,000 MW in various stages of construction.

“The not-so-good news is that, even as we face these twin challenges [climate change and growing energy demand], our country does not have a long-term, national policy in place to promote renewable energy development,” said AWEA executive director Randall Swisher.

The federal production tax credit (PTC) for renewable energy will expire in December 2008, and there is no national renewable electricity standard (RES) or other long-term policy in place.

According to Swisher, a long-term national renewable energy policy is vital for the industry to successfully grow. “The U.S. wind energy industry urges Congressional leaders and the President to work together and bring to the finish line energy legislation that extends the production tax credit and establishes a national standard for renewable electricity,” he said.

Wind power is delivering a generous return on public investment: the continuity in the PTC since 2005 has spurred both record-breaking new generating capacity (2,431 MW added in 2005, 2,454 MW in 2006, about 4,000 MW expected in 2007) and a wave of investment in manufacturing facilities and services across the country, including in states that do not have a large wind resource.

The U.S. wind energy industry completed 1,251 MW of wind power generation since numbers were last reported, bringing the total installed to date this year to 2,310 MW and the total cumulative wind power generating capacity in the country to 13,885 MW, according to AWEA.

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