Report Highlights Economic Benefits of Wind Power in the U.S.

The American Wind Energy Association has just released its 2011 Annual Market Report, which shows the period registered double-digit growth. The market report highlights how market certainty has been key to the creation of a “positive feedback loop” which allowed for states to generate affordable wind power electricity at record levels.

Wind power has become one of America’s fastest growing sources of Made-in-the-USA manufacturing jobs, which reduces costs even further.

South Dakota and Iowa were the top wind producers 2011, with wind accounting for more than 10 percent of their electricity in the period. Seven states have at least 4,000 wind jobs each. Kansas is at the top of the list for under construction wind projects.

“American wind energy is creating American jobs and affordable electricity all across the country,” said AWEA CEO Denise Bode. We are powering one of the country’s biggest sources of Made-in-the-USA manufacturing jobs and a vital source of economic development despite the down economy.”

Report highlights:

• The wind industry brought in as much as $20 billion annually in private investment to the U.S.

• It created one of the largest providers of new American electric generation with 35% of all new power capacity, right behind natural gas.

• It drove technology advances that have made wind more affordable than ever. A typical wind turbine now generates 30% more electricity – all while driving down costs.

• The wind power industry created nearly 500 new American manufacturing facilities and employed 75,000 overall, including 30,000 in the manufacturing sector, from coast to coast.

“This shows what wind power is capable of: building new projects, powering local economies and creating jobs,” said Denise Bode, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association. “Traditional tax incentives are working. This tremendous activity is being driven by the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) – which leverages as much as $20 billion a year in private investment and supports tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs.”

The U.S. wind industry installed 6,816 megawatts (MW) in 2011, 31 percent higher than 201. There are more than 8,300 MW under construction. In total, there are 46,916 MW installed in the United States.

Article by Antonio Pasolini, a Brazilian writer and video art curator based in London, UK. He holds a BA in journalism and an MA in film and television.

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