The outlook for wind energy has never been better because of the technology’s economic competitiveness, the growing demand for electricity, and effective renewable energy policies adopted in several markets, according to industry officials in the United States.APACHE JUNCTION, Arizona, US, 2001-10-30 [SolarAccess.com] Electricity from some of the new wind projects in the U.S. has been contracted at less than 3 cents per kWh, which they say establishes wind energy as a power source that now is more affordable than natural gas. Market growth this year is expected to exceed 50 percent in the U.S., setting a new record and pushing global installed capacity past the 20,000 MW mark. In 2000, 2,500 MW of wind power was generated from wind facilities in the U.S. California was the first state in which large windfarms were developed, and currently accounts for 1,500 megawatts of output. There are 18 wind projects under proposal or development in the state, representing an additional 500 MW. The cost of the latest projects at less than 3¢/kWh compares with the cost of electricity from natural gas, which reached 15 to 20¢/kWh last winter. During 2000, 3,800 MW of new wind capacity was installed around the world, representing annual sales of $4 billion and boosting total installed capacity to 17,300 MW. In 1999, a record-breaking 3,900 MW of new wind capacity was installed globally, up substantially from the 2,500 MW installed in 1998.