The U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,389 megawatts (MW) this quarter, bringing the total capacity to 4,204 MW (4.2GW) of wind power projects completed in what is likely to be another record year, the American Wind Energy Association announced in its 3rd quarter market report (pdf).
With even more reported under construction, the industry is on track to surpass the banner year of 2007, when 5,249 MW were installed, with a total of about 7,500 MW this year (7,500 MW would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of about 2.2 million homes).
The industry is also aggressively expanding its manufacturing base in the U.S. and creating jobs in a difficult financial climate. That growth will no doubt be sustained thanks to the recent extension of the renewable energy production tax credits, although industry leaders would much prefer a longer-term extension to provide even more investment security.
“The market, in spite of all its turmoil, clearly points to wind power as one of the most attractive energy options available today," said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. "But if we are to keep this momentum going, the new President and Congress will need to put in place what the majority of the American people support but the country still lacks: a long-term renewable energy policy.”
AWEA’s report tallies the opening of eight new wind turbine component manufacturing facilities this year; the expansion of nine facilities; and the announcement of an additional 19 facilities. As a result of recent manufacturing investment, AWEA estimates, the share of domestically made components in wind turbines has risen from about 30% in 2005 to 50% today. The new facilities will create an estimated 9,000 jobs.