AWEA: Wind energy grows by record 8,300 MW in 2008

Washington, D.C., Jan. 29, 2009 — The U.S. wind energy industry broke previous growth records in 2008 by installing 8,358 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said.

The growth in 2008 increased the nation’s total wind power generating capacity by 50 percent and channeled an investment of some $17 billion into the economy, AWEA said. At year’s end, however, financing for new projects and orders for turbine components slowed to a trickle and layoffs began to hit the wind turbine manufacturing sector, the organization reported.

“Our numbers are both exciting and sobering,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. “The U.S. wind energy industry’s performance in 2008 confirms that wind is an economic and job creation dynamo… At the same time, it is clear that the economic and financial downturn have begun to take a serious toll on new wind development.”

The new wind projects completed in 2008 account for about 42 percent of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally last year, according to initial estimates.

In all, wind energy generating capacity in the U.S. now stands at 25,170 MW. Iowa, with 2,790 MW installed, surpassed California (2,517 MW) in wind power generating capacity. The top five states in terms of capacity installed are now:

1. Texas, with 7116 MW
2. Iowa, with 2790 MW
3. California, with 2517 MW
4. Minnesota, with 1752 MW
5. Washington, with 1375 MW

Oregon moved into the club of states with more than 1,000MW installed, which now counts seven states: Texas, Iowa, California, Minnesota, Washington, Colorado, and Oregon.

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