The United States has overtaken Germany to become the largest producer of wind energy in the world, generating enough capacity to eliminate the burning of 91 million barrels of oil per year.
According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), US wind producers enjoyed another record year of growth in 2008—the third in a row. The country now has an installed wind power capacity well in excess of 21,000 megawatts (MW), enough to supply electricity to over 5.5 million American homes.
According to Randall Swisher, AWEA Executive DIrector, “Wind energy installations are well ahead of the curve for contributing 20% of the U.S. electric power supply by 2030 as envisioned by the U.S. Department of Energy.”
Amazingly, this rapid progress was achieved under a governing administration that to many seemed, at best, indifferent to the plight of the renewable energy industry. If the US wind power industry is capable of becoming a world-leader during such times, it seems quite likely that the picture could improve even further with a more sympathetic leader at the helm.
Image Credit: vaxomatic via flickr.com on a Creative Commons license
Andrew is a writer and freelance journalist specialising in sustainability and green issues. He lives in Cardiff, Wales.