The US wind energy industry turned in a solid performance in 2004, adding 389MW of new generating equipment, or enough to serve more than 100,000 average homes, according to the Washington, DC-based American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
Total new additions were down sharply from the highs in the boom years of 2001 (1,696 MW) and 2003 (1,687 MW). At year’s end, the trade group said, utility-scale wind installations in 30 states across the country totalled 6,740 MW, enough to serve more than 1.6 million US households.
Despite the lacklustre 2004 figures, over 2,000 MW of new wind power capacity is likely to be added during the coming year, according to the Industry Group. The most recent extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit (PTC) by the US Congress in October, 2004, teed up 2005 for an impressive growth spurt, it says.
In Europe, the industry statistics released by the Brussels-based European Wind Energy Association show that wind power capacity increased by 20% to 34,205MW at the end of 2004, up from 28,568 MW at the end of 2003.
The top five European wind energy markets in 2004 were in Spain (2065MW), Germany (2037MW), the UK (240MW), Portugal (224MW) and Italy (221MW).