- Category: Wind
15 Aug 2012
- Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 11:34
- Hits (1112)
The United States remained one of the fastest growing wind power markets in the world in 2011 although it came second to China, due in part to policy uncertainty starting after 2012 according to a report from the Department of Energy.
Prepared by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, the report indicates that roughly 6.8 gigawatts of new wind power capacity were connected to the country’s grid last year, more than the 5.2 GW built in 2010 but below the 10 GW added in 2009.
The United States’ wind power capacity reached 47 GW by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50 GW, generating electricity to power 13 million homes annually. Cumulative installed wind energy capacity grew 16 percent from 2010, and has increased 18 times since 2000. It was found that six states now meet more than 10 percent of their total electricity needs with wind power.
Wind power now also represents 32 percent of all new electric capacity additions in the country last year, accounting for $14 billion in new investment. The percentage of wind equipment made in America also increased, with close to seventy percent of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms in 2011.
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Industry estimates show that the wind sector currently employs 75,000 American workers, including workers at manufacturing facilities up and down the supply chain, as well as engineers and construction workers who build and operate the wind farms.
“This report shows that America can lead the world in the global race to manufacture and deploy clean energy technologies,” Energy Secretary Steven Chu said.
The numbers are expected to grow this year facing the threat of policy uncertainty by way of the nearing expiration of the Production Tax Credit at the end of this year, and could even surpass the record numbers posted in 2009.
If the tax credit fails to get extended, however, a “dramatic slowing” of domestic wind energy deployment in 2013 is seen, with an estimated 37,000 jobs in danger of being lost.
Another tax credit is also being pushed for extension, the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit, which provides a 30 percent investment credit to manufacturers who invest in capital equipment to make components for clean energy projects in the United States.
“President Obama has called for an extension of these successful tax credits to ensure America leads the world in manufacturing the clean energy technologies of the future,” the press release said. – EcoSeed Staff