Wind power soars

A plethora of new US wind energy projects are to receive up to $13.8m in funding – including $12.8m in Recovery Act funds.


The US Department of Energy has released a new report that claims wind power capacity in the US increased by 8,558MW in 2008.


Wind power contributed 42 per cent of all new US electric generating capacity in 2008, and for the fourth consecutive year, wind power was the second-largest new resource added to the US electrical grid.


The cumulative wind capacity installed in the US at the end of 2008 would, in an average year, be able to supply roughly 1.9 per cent of the country’s electricity consumption. Texas led all states with 7,118MW of total wind capacity installed, followed by Iowa (2,791MW) and California (2,517MW). Seven states now have more than 1,000MW installed, and 13 have more than 500MW.


Soaring demand for wind has also spurred expansion of wind turbine manufacturing in the US. As a result of this continued expansion, the American Wind Energy Association estimates that the share of domestically manufactured wind turbine components has grown from less than 30 per cent in 2005 to roughly 50 per cent in 2008, and that around 8,400 new domestic manufacturing jobs were added to the wind sector in 2008 alone.


As the report was launched, US Department of Energy secretary Steven Chu announced that the department had selected a plethora of new wind energy projects for up to $13.8m (£8.5m) in funding – including $12.8m in Recovery Act funds.