The US generation of wind powered electricity has finally pushed past the 20,000-megawatt mark, reaching a milestone that took only 2 years. The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) made the announcement on Wednesday, pointing to the 20,152 MW of electricity generating capacity currently up and running in the US.
“However, the looming expiration of the federal renewable energy production tax credit (PTC) less than four months from now threatens this spectacular progress,” said Randall Swisher, AWEA’s executive director.
Subsequently, wind energy is well on track to providing the 20% of US electricity by 2030, as envisioned by the US Department of Energy (DOE).
A report released in May of 2008 by the US DOE found that the US had the wind capabilities of providing 20% of electricity generated by 2030. In one scenario laid out by the DOE saw an increase of 16,000 MW per year by 2018, and continue at that rate until 2030.
But more than just providing a nice boost to renewable energy production, such a trend would also see support approximately half a million jobs, with more than 150,000 workers employed directly by the wind industry.
The AWEA are also proclaiming themselves the world leaders in wind generation. While they currently have the largest output, and are looking to increase their capacity to 24,300 MW by the end of 2008, one still has to look at the facts. America may have a larger capacity or generation than others, but they also have a much larger population and landmass to deal with. So there should be no patting on the back just yet.
And considering that wind power currently provides just over 1.5% of the nation’s electricity, applause should be held back for a few years. Thankfully, wind power is one of the fastest growing electricity sources today, totaling 35% of new capacity added in 2007, second only to natural gas.