Last year almost half the new electricity capacity added to the grid (42%) was wind power, according to Secretary Chu of the U.S. Department of Energy.
Texas led all states with 7,118 MW of total wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (2791 MW) and California (2517 MW). Seven states now have more than 1,000 MW installed, and 13 have more than 500 MW.
$16 Billion invested in wind projects in 2008 made the United States the world leader in added capacity last year, says This the fourth consecutive year that the United States has been the world’s fastest-growing wind power market.
Wind power added 8,558 megawatts of new electricity to the grid – – and 8,400 new jobs to the economy.
The American Wind Energy Association estimates that now about half of the components needed for wind turbines are made in the United States.
Last year was a good year for U.S. wind. The United States overtook Germany to lead the world in wind capacity additions, capturing roughly 30% of the worldwide market.
Six utilities now get more than 10% of their electricity from wind.
However, this is just the very beginning of wind power in this country: nationwide, wind still only provides an average 2% of electricity consumption.
Iowa and Minnesota lead 7 states that are more than 5% wind powered.
The DOE report detailed $16 billion in investment in wind projects made in the U.S. last year that make the United States the leader in annual wind energy capacity growth.
“Wind energy will be a critical factor in achieving the President’s goals for clean energy, while supporting news jobs,” said Secretary Chu. “While the United States leads the world in wind energy capacity, we have to continue to support research and development to expand renewable energy deployment.”
The report analyzes a range of developments in the wind market, including trends in wind project installations, turbine size, turbine prices, wind project costs, project performance, and wind power prices.
It also details trends in project financing, a key concern for the wind industry in the current economic climate, as well as trends in project ownership, public policy, and the integration of wind power into the electrical grid.
The economic meltdown last Fall both helped and hurt wind.
The expected expiration of the ITC by the end of the year was already slowing growth planned for 2009. Then the financial crisis in the Fall unexpectedly opened an opportunity to sneak an extension of the ITC into the must-pass bailout plan, so that wind investments could continue to get a tax credit.
But on the other hand, the financial meltdown itself has hurt investment in everything. 2009 might not look so good.
Via U.S DOE 2008 Wind Technologies Market Report
Image from Australian photographer Anthony James
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