Wind-power set to continue rapid growth, group says

April 9, 2010 By Dana Hull

The nation's wind-power industry showed record growth in 2009 and could see dramatic expansion if there was a national "renewable electricity standard," the American Wind Energy Association said in a report released Thursday.

The industry association says more than 10,000 megawatts of new wind were installed throughout the United States in 2009, generating as much electricity as three large nuclear power plants. And 14 states are now included in what the industry calls the "gigawatt club," which means they have more than 1,000 megawatts of wind power installed. One is enough to power between 750 and 1,000 homes.

Texas, Iowa and California lead all states in megawatts installed.

The American Wind Energy Association advocates for a nationwide standard, a policy that would require utilities to procure a set amount of power from like wind and solar by a certain date. AWEA would like to see a national target of 25 percent by 2025.

California and 29 other states have their own renewable standards, but wind advocates say the lack of a federal policy is hurting the industry.

"A national (standard) will provide the long-term certainty that businesses need to invest tens of billions of dollars in new installations and manufacturing facilities, which would create hundreds of thousands of American jobs," said AWEA CEO Denise Bode.

In California, the vast majority of wind turbines are clustered in three regions: Altamont Pass between Livermore and Tracy, Tehachapi near Bakersfield and San Gorgonio near Palm Springs.

California's Renewable Portfolio Standard, established in 2002, calls on utilities to procure 20 percent of their power from renewable resources by 2010.

"When the RPS law was passed, that really spurred developer interest in the state," said Nancy Rader, executive director of the California Wind Energy Association. "There are a lot of projects in the works, and we expect about 800 megawatts to be installed in 2010."

Unlike the solar industry, which has put panels on the roofs of American homes, the wind industry remains largely out of reach for most consumers.

"There are small wind turbines, but you can't site them in urban and suburban areas," said Rader. "You have to have land or a ranch to put up a small wind turbine."

Later this month, federal officials are expected to rule on Cape Wind, a controversial project off the coast of Cape Cod that, if approved, would be the nation's largest offshore wind farm. The project is backed by Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick and renewable energy advocates but has been strenuously opposed by Native American tribes who say the proposed would disturb ancestral underwater burial grounds and spiritual ceremonies. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to make a final ruling on the project by the end of this month.


Wind now generates more than 35,000 megawatts of power in the United States, with each megawatt capable of powering between 750 and 1,000 homes. The three top wind-power states:

• Texas: 9,405 megawatts installed

• Iowa: 3,670 megawatts installed

• California: 2,723 megawatts installed

(SOURCE: American Association)

Explore further: United States becomes world leader in wind power


Related Stories

United States becomes world leader in wind power

August 24, 2009

Aggressive investments in 2008 helped the United States surpass Germany to become the world's leader in wind power, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Energy.

Report: Use 'brownfields' as energy parks

January 29, 2009

Northwest Michigan could generate hundreds of new jobs and generate enough electricity for thousands of its residents by converting abandoned factories and other brownfield sites for renewable energy production.

Engineer aims to regulate varying wind power

October 19, 2007

As Texas' electric grid operator prepares to add power lines for carrying future wind-generated energy, an electrical engineer at The University of Texas at Austin is developing improved methods for determining the extent ...

China to be 3rd biggest wind power producer: media

January 1, 2010

China is set to become the world's third largest wind power producer in 2009, state media reported, as the Asian giant seeks various ways to expand energy supply to power its economic boom.

Intelligent networking of wind farms

April 6, 2010

The EU member states have passed a resolution requiring one fifth of their electricity needs to be derived from renewable energy sources by 2020, with wind farms covering a large part of this requirement. Researchers have ...

Recommended for you

Enhancing solar power with diatoms

October 20, 2017

Diatoms, a kind of algae that reproduces prodigiously, have been called "the jewels of the sea" for their ability to manipulate light. Now, researchers hope to harness that property to boost solar technology.

Dutch open 'world's first 3D-printed bridge'

October 17, 2017

Dutch officials toasted on Tuesday the opening of what is being called the world's first 3D-printed concrete bridge, which is primarily meant to be used by cyclists.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Apr 09, 2010
I don't think that the limitations on the wind industry are as great as this article makes them out to be. Please check out http://www.aerote...cts.html this designer has developed wind turbines for urban environments in Chicago.
not rated yet Apr 09, 2010
How about methane-wind power?
not rated yet Apr 10, 2010

china is ahead with gigawatts, it all comes down to plasma induction, refridgeration and radiopolymer technologies to turn every pneumatic cycle into 10 :)
not rated yet Apr 11, 2010
Had to laugh about the Indian's objections. They probably want the darned things located on land... their land.
The tribes in the west are big on oil, natural gas and coal production. Utes are big in natural gas and the Navajo are large coal producers as well as providing sites for coal power plants. I'm sure they will take wind as well.
not rated yet Apr 13, 2010
If we had a quota on medical malpractice, it would do wonders for the predatory lawsuit business. [Oh, wait, we just got that]

The wind energy fad will collapse under its uneconomical physics.

What will it take for nuclear energy to get the respect it deserves?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.