FEB 14

2012 Strongest Year Ever for US Wind Energy Industry

Written by on February 14, 2013

The American Wind Energy Association announced that 2012 marked the wind energy industry’s strongest year ever. This past year wind energy accounted for over 40 percent of new generating capacity in the United States, surpassing all other energy-producing industries in new capacity, including those dependent on fossil fuels. The wind-powered generators currently installed will reduce US carbon emissions by 1.8 percent, preventing 95.9 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions each year.

Although faced with government policy-related challenges, including the threat of the Production Tax Credit expiration (extended at the last minute by the “fiscal cliff package,” the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012) the wind energy industry has much to celebrate. Rob Gramlich, AWEA Interim CEO, expressed his excitement over the industry’s triumphs, stating, “It is a real testament to American innovation and hard work that for the first time ever a renewable energy source was number one in new capacity. We are thrilled to mark this major milestone in the nation’s progress toward a cleaner energy system.”

Including projects from 32 states and Puerto Rico, the wind energy industry installed turbines capable of generating over 13,000 MW in 2012. (2010 holds the previous record for new wind power at 10,000 MW.) Texas and California top the list of states with new capacity installations, providing 1,826 MW and 1,656 MW respectively. The collective wind power in the US reached a whopping 60,000 MW (60 gigawatts) in January, enough power to provide electricity to every home in Colorado, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, and Ohio combined – the equivalent of powering nearly 15 million homes.

“Despite a considerable amount of policy uncertainty, the US wind power sector proved to be remarkably resilient in 2012, reaching a record level of installations while global wind investment fell 13%,” US Director of The Climate Group, Amy Davidsen said. “But for the sector to continue… to grow, we must provide a more stable investment climate through clear, long-term policy signals.”

via: American Wind Energy Association


5 Responses to “2012 Strongest Year Ever for US Wind Energy Industry”

  1. David Cohen says:

    So exciting to see this growth
    This article is very refreshing. The more consumers choose green energy options, the more this trend will continue. If you would like to make a difference and purchase renewable energy for your home, read more here http://www.viridian.com/davcoh/

  2. Sarah says:

    Not convinced
    Though Congress’ extension of the wind Production Tax Credit is being highly praised, it may not be enough to save the wind energy industry, a growing industry and important jobs in Colorado in the past five years.

    Vestas laid off about 500 employees in Colorado, citing uncertainty over the impending expiration of the tax credit. Even with the extension, Vestas remains committed to trimming another 2,000 people from its global payrolls through 2013.

    I can’t see how this industry is growing if the largest supplier is cutting back.


  3. Kevin C. Smith says:

    Yes, it will be sufficient. More than sufficient, actually. We simply have to build them. Of course, renewables, like fossil fuels, have different characteristics among them that are most effective when used in combination, not exclusively. Wind, solar, biomass and (where appropriate) hydro-in both large central generating installations and in local, distributed networks-are the components of a sustainable energy futire.

  4. Sarah says:

    Mixed feelings.
    I am 0 percent for anything to do with making this world Greener, yet I come from SW Ontario where all the farmers fields are being turned into wind farms.

    According to my university, it takes 7-10 years for the wind farms to be finally worth the money it used to build these giant machines, and by then the technology will be obsolete.

    Just as an observation, more than half of these machines are still yet to be hooked up to our grid because it will overpower the old technology, yet they are still building more.

    Is it just because of the government grants for these companies (who get money to build them, and the farmers to get paid for the next 10 years), or will this amazing idea actually be sufficient one day?

  5. Luis Basurto Aramburu says:

    Capacity Factor
    The article above is quite deceiving because it does NOT mention the capacity factor of wind installations. If, say, the capacity factor is 25% then the 13,000 MW installed capacity on average represent only 3,250 MW.
    Also, when it is stated that wind turbines in the USA can power nearly 15 million homes, again it is misleading. Wind is a fluctuating energy source and it fully depends on the conventional electrical network to absorb wind’s unreliable power.