Washington, D.C., United States [RenewableEnergyWorld.com] The U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,210 megawatts (MW) of new power generating capacity in the second quarter, bringing the total added this year to just over 4,000 MW – an amount larger than the 2,900 MW added in the first six months of 2008, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) found in its second quarter (Q2) market report.
During the second quarter, the U.S. wind energy industry completed a total of 1,210 MW in 10 states. These new installations nudge total U.S. wind power generating capacity to 29,440 MW, according to the report.
The state posting the fastest growth in the 2nd quarter was Missouri, where wind power installations expanded by 90%. Pennsylvania and South Dakota ranked second and third in terms of growth rate in the second quarter, expanding by 28% and 21% respectively.
The states that added new wind power generating capacity are:
Three wind turbine and turbine component manufacturing facilities were opened, four facilities were expanding, and eight facilities were announced during the past quarter. This brings the total of opened, expanding and announced facilities up to 20 since the beginning of the year.
At the same time however, many existing supply chain companies have stopped hiring or have furloughed employees due to the slowdown in contracts for wind turbines. Despite this, and reports from earlier in the year that 2009 would be a very slow year for the industry, analysts are generally positive about the wind industry.
“Even in an economic meltdown, the installation of over a gigawatt of wind shows that the technology is mature and destined for long term growth no matter what economic conditions happen to be,” said Scott Sklar, president of renewable energy consultancy The Stella Group Ltd.
While the number of completed wind farm installations was solid, AWEA said the reduced number of orders and lower level of activity in manufacturing of wind turbines and their components is troubling.
“The numbers are in, and while they show the industry has been swimming upstream, adding some 4,000 MW over the past six months, the fact is that we could be delivering so much more,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “Our challenge now is to seize the historic opportunity before us to unleash this entrepreneurial force and build up an entire new industry here in the U.S. that will create jobs, avoid carbon, and strengthen our energy security. To achieve that, Congress and the Administration must pass a national Renewable Electricity Standard (RES) with strong early targets.”