Washington, D.C., United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reported this week in its third quarter (Q3) market report that the U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,649 megawatts (MW) of new power generating capacity in the third quarter—an amount higher than either the 2nd quarter of 2009 or the 3rd quarter of 2008—bringing the total capacity added this year to date to over 5,800 MW.
Since the early July announcement of rules to implement the grant program that was part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the wind industry has completed more than 1,600 MW of projects and has started construction on more than 1,700 MW of projects. These projects equate to about US $6.5 billion in new investment.
AWEA said that despite the high installation levels to to date this year, it does not expect the fourth quarter of 2009 to be as strong as the fourth quarter of 2008 since the 5,000 MW now under construction is nearly 38% lower than the over 8,000 MW under construction at this time last year.
The total wind power capacity now operating in the U.S. is over 31,000 MW. The state posting the fastest growth rate in the third quarter was Arizona, which installed its first utility-scale project. Pennsylvania ranked 2nd in growth with 29%, followed by Illinois with 22%, Wyoming with 21%, and New Mexico with 20%.
State by state totals for added and total wind energy capacity from Q3 are listed below.
AWEA also reported that wind turbine manufacturing still lags below 2008 levels, in both production and new announcements.
“Wind power installations are up, and that is good news for America’s economy, environment, and energy security,” said Denise Bode, AWEA’s CEO. “But manufacturing, which has the potential to employ many more Americans in good, clean energy jobs, remains uncertain. A firm, long-term national commitment to renewable energy is still needed for the U.S. to become a wind turbine manufacturing powerhouse and create hundreds of thousands of jobs.”