WEDNESDAY 15 AUGUST, 2012 |
U.S. Wind Energy Breezes Past 50GW
The U.S. wind power industry has hit a significant milestone: 50 gigawatts of electricity generation capacity.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), U.S. wind turbines
currently in operation now crank out enough clean electricity to meet the needs
of the equivalent of nearly 13 million American homes.
The figure represents the generating capacity of 44 coal-fired power plants; or 11 nuclear power
plants, avoids carbon dioxide emissions equivalent to taking 14 million cars off the
road and conserves 30 billion gallons of water a year compared to thermal electric
"This milestone for wind-energy production marks continued success for this clean, renewable and domestically produced energy
source," said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the man behind Production Tax Credit
- an incentive now under threat as it is due to expire at the end of this
AWEA says the looming deadline has already resulted in a slowdown in the
industry's manufacturing supply chain, given the 18-month project development cycle under which the industry operates.
"Congress must act now to give wind energy a stable business environment to keep producing all this homegrown power, and save 37,000 American jobs by the first quarter of next
year," says Denise Bode, CEO of the AWEA
"These truly are the best of times and could be the worst of times for American wind
power....because of the uncertainty surrounding the extension of the Production Tax Credit, incoming orders are grinding to a
halt," said Bode.
Utility-scale wind farms are now located in 39 U.S states. Large wind farms
aren't a new development in the USA, with some dating back to the early 1980's.
However, it took 23 years to reach 5 GW of U.S. generating capacity. The
additional 45 gigawatts capacity has taken just 9 years, with 25 gigawatts being
brought online in just the last 4 years.
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