Washington, D.C., Jan. 23, 2008 — The U.S. wind energy industry installed 5,244 megawatts (MW) in 2007, expanding the nation’s total wind power generating capacity by 45 percent in a single calendar year, which carried with it investments of over $9 billion, said the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The new wind projects account for about 30 percent of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally in 2007. AWEA detailed their findings in their annual report.
“This is the third consecutive year of record-setting growth,” said AWEA’s executive director Randall Swisher. “[T]he PTC and tax incentives for other renewable energy sources are now in danger of lapsing at the end of this year,” said Swisher, adding that the U.S. wind industry is calling for an extension of the tax credit.
The U.S. wind power fleet now numbers 16,818 MW and spans 34 states. American wind farms will generate an estimated 48 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of wind energy in 2008, just over 1 percent of U.S. electricity supply.
AWEA expects wind power’s performance to be strong in 2008, with AWEA’s initial estimates indicating that 2008 could equal 2007 in new wind capacity installed. The pace of growth in 2008 and beyond is expected to largely depend, not on turbine availability, but on the timing and duration of an extension of the federal production tax credit.
Report highlights include:
* Installations in the last quarter of 2007 alone (2,930 MW) surpassed the amount installed in all of 2006 (2,454 MW).
* Texas consolidates its lead; wind power also expands at a strong pace in Midwest and Northwest. The states with the most cumulative wind power capacity installed are:
Texas — 4356 MW
California — 2439 MW
Minnesota — 1299 MW
Iowa — 1273 MW
Washington — 1163 MW
* Investment is flowing into the wind power supply chain. At least fourteen new manufacturing facilities opened or were announced in 2007, according to initial AWEA estimates. Companies are opening new manufacturing plants and expanding existing ones.
* GE Energy continued to lead in wind turbine sales, with 45 percent of the market in terms of new capacity installed. FPL Energy remained atop the list of wind project developers, with 956 MW of new development in 2007 alone.
The full annual report is available on the AWEA website.
Want to stay Current? Listen to Currents: The Energy News Podcast brought to you by Utility Automation & Engineering T&D and Electric Light & Power online. For a list of all available episodes, click here and start listening today. And for more news and exclusive features from Utility Automation & Engineering T&D and Electric Light & Power online, please click here.