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US Wind Power Industry Added 10,000 MW New Capacity in 2009
Feb 09, 2010

Despite the pressure of economic slowdown, the US wind power industry added 10,000 MW new capacity in 2009 to take its total capacity to around 35,000 MW.

The American Wind Energy Association has disclosed that the US wind power industry installed around 10,000 MW of new capacity in the year 2009 to record an annual rise of around 39% from the figures reported in the previous year (2008), as reported by The Gov Monitor.

With this installation, the US has become the world’s leading wind power generation market and has a total wind installation capacity of 35,000 MW. Such a high jump in new capacity installation has had a positive impact on five-year average annual growth rate, which has soared to 39% from 32% between 2003 and 2008. Moreover, the new installation of 4041 MW in the fourth quarter of 2009 was the highest throughout the year (2009) but it was lower than the fourth quarter of 2008.

Among the states, Washington left behind Minnesota in the top five states of wind power installation whereas Texas continued to maintain its leading position and consolidated it further. Texas held the top position with installation capacity of 9410 MW, followed by Iowa (3670 MW), California (2794 MW), Washington (1980 MW) and Minnesota (1809 MW).

Another interesting fact about wind power installation is that it accounted for 40% of total new capacity in 2009 and became one of the prime sources of electricity generation in the US.

The credit of increasing new capacity installation last year goes to the US government stimulus efforts because they helped to sop up inventories which had been piled up significantly after the recession that affected the investment and finance projects in manufacturing. The money given through stimulus packages created new jobs in the field of operation and construction to balance the job losses in manufacturing segment.

Despite robust growth, the wind industry is facing a number of problems on the horizon. For instance – the stimulus money is eroding and many states have adopted standards that mandate certain amount of electricity generation through renewable resources, but the Congress has not yet adopted nationwide standards.

Industry experts believe that a lack of standard is restraining the wind energy industry to achieve its potential and blocking manufacturers to expand their operations.

According to a Research Analyst at RNCOS, “If the country implemented a framework of nationwide electricity generation through renewable resources, investors would show interest in the expansion of transmission lines to transmit wind power from gusty centers to cities where power demand is much higher.”

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