The U.S. wind power industry continued to grow in 2009 despite a global recession, adding 9,900 megawatts — a capacity increase of about 39 percent — according to a new report.
That growth, which was boosted by a federal stimulus package that extended the tax credit for wind energy production and offered other incentives, represents the largest single-year jump on record for the industry, according to the annual report released by the American Wind Energy Association.
The added capacity was 18 percent greater than the growth in 2008. But that momentum could slow in 2010, the report said, since the sluggish economy has slowed orders for new turbines and will likely mean fewer installations this year.
With the added capacity, wind energy contributes nearly 2 percent of the nation’s electricity. The U.S. continues to lag behind Europe, however, which gets about 5 percent of its electricity from wind energy.
A recent report funded by the U.S. government suggested that wind energy could provide about 20 percent of the electricity for the eastern half of the country by 2024, but only if government and businesses make a $90 billion investment.
Article appearing courtesy Yale Environment 360.
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