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Wind Picks Up in U.S. Energy Market
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 over 2006.
An investment of over $9 billion, the new wind projects account for about 30 percent of the entire new power-producing capacity added nationally in 2007 and will power the equivalent of 1.5 million American households annually, says an American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) report.
The U.S. wind power fleet now numbers 16,818 MW over 34 states. American wind farms will generate an estimated 48 billion kilowatt-hours of wind energy in 2008, just over 1 percent of U.S. electricity supply.
New wind capacity installed in 2008 could equal 2007’s numbers, according to the AWEA’s initial estimates. 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 (PTC), which is set to expire at the end of this year.
“This remarkable and accelerating growth is driven by strong demand, favorable economics, and a period of welcome relief from the on-again, off-again, boom-and-bust, cycle of the federal production tax credit for wind power,” says Randall Swisher, AWEA executive director.