Hold on to your hat. It’s getting breezy out there.
Seems everywhere you go on the Internet, they’re remembering a great year for wind in 2008 and predicting a decent one in 2009. What? In this economy? Yes.
Wind energy grew by more than 8,300 megawatts in the U.S. in 2008, the most ever, the American Wind Energy Association said recently. That’s enough to power more than 2 million homes. The wind industry also is gaining on the coal industry when it comes to the number of jobs (80,000+), according to a fact-checker at the Christian Science Monitor.
AWEA says 2009 won’t be as rosy, but the group predicts this year holds promise, with a new president who’s pushing an economic stimulus package, national renewable energy standards and caps on carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants.
State policies have helped increase wind capacity in the U.S. and proven the sector has real job power. Currently, more than 25 states have RPSes, or renewable portfolio standards requiring utilities to get a certain percentage of their power from renewables like wind and solar. Coal is the current workhorse on the U.S. electrical grid.
Obama has pledged to double the amount of renewable energy production from 7 to 14 percent. Seems pretty ambitious, but industry experts say it can be done.