Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Wind Power Capacity in U.S. Increased 27% in 2006

AWEA Expects Growth in 2007 to Reach an Additional 26%

[From AWEA via Renewable Energy Access.com:]

Wind power-generating capacity increased by 27 percent in 2006 and is expected to increase an additional 26 percent in 2007, proving wind is now a mainstream option for new power generation in the U.S., according to a market forecast released today by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).

The U.S. wind energy industry installed 2,454 megawatts (MW) of new generating capacity in 2006, an investment of approximately $4 billion, billing wind as one of the largest sources of new power generation in the country -- second only to natural gas -- for the second year in a row. New wind farms boosted cumulative U.S. installed wind energy capacity by 27 percent to 11,603 MW, well above the 10,000-MW milestone reached in August 2006.

Wind power has attracted the support of state and federal government legislatures. The U.S. Congress recently extended the federal production tax credit (PTC) through December 2008 to further expand the number of wind farms throughout the U.S. Based on the success of the PTC to date, AWEA is calling for extending the provision an additional five years.

"Wind is a proven, cost-effective source of energy that also alleviates global warming and enhances our nation's energy security," said AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. "The industry has demonstrated a generous return on the investment of both private and public investment in wind," said Swisher. "Extending the PTC five years will significantly increase the progress America is making in expanding its use of new forms of energy when they've never been needed more."

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