Wind Energy Growing Across Nation

Wind Energy Growing Across Nation

New records of wind generation set.

The American Wind Energy Association's annual market report reflects a patchwork of wind development, which remains concentrated in the Great Plains and Pacific Coast states, with smaller clusters along the Great Lakes. The Southeast, in the Appalachians' shadow, where onshore wind resources are weakest, comes up empty on AWEA's maps of new project starts. Iowa led the pack for wind's share in the market, producing 14.2% of its electric power from wind last year. Texas ranked second with 9,000 megawatts produced.

According to the report, six states used turbines to generate more than 5% of their electricity last year, as wind power weathered a second year of recession to post new records of generation. More than 10,000 megawatts of new generating capacity was built nationwide last year, and wind power produced almost 2% of all
U.S. electricity. The AWEA report acknowledges constraints on wind development caused by shortages of transmission capacity to link wind centers with urban areas.

AWEA says that wind power growth is also being squeezed by low prices for natural gas-fired electricity and by the absence of a national renewable energy standard. Don Furman, the president of AWEA's board, called such a standard as the linchpin of an international policy race that will determine the sector's fate. Furman said that those policies are needed to remain competitive.

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