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Wind energy association spreads good news on growing industry

The American Wind Energy Association is reporting that America ’s wind power industry grew by 15 percent in 2010 and provided 26 percent of all new electric generating capacity in the United States. With the 5,116 megawatts added last year, U.S. wind installations now stand at 40,181 megawatts — enough to supply electricity for more than 10 million American homes.

“The American wind industry is delivering, despite competing with energy sectors that have permanent government subsidies in place,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “Wind is consistently performing, adding 35 percent of all new generating capacity since 2007 — that’s twice what coal and nuclear added combined.”

Recent statistics from the AWEA U.S. Wind Industry Annual Market Report reveal that wind continues to be an important player in the nation’s energy sector, with lower costs competitive with other generation sources, and it’s second in new generation capacity only to natural gas.

“It’s simple: Wind is affordable,” says Elizabeth Salerno, director of data and analysis and chief economist for AWEA. “It’s costing less than ever, and competing with other sources thanks to improved turbines built for better performance without a big price tag.”

The U.S. wind market entered 2011 with 5,600 megawatts under construction — more than twice the megawatts under construction at the start of 2010. The extension of a tax credit in December 2010 provided a signal to investors to continue growing in wind energy.

The association believes the industry is on track to produce 20 percent of America’s electricity by 2030, as was laid out by the Department of Energy during the Bush administration.

AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, representing more than 2,500 member companies.


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