AWEA 3rd Quarter Report Predicts
The U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,389 megawatts (MW) this quarter, bringing to 4,204 MW the total of wind power projects completed in what is expected to be another record year, the American Wind Energy Association announced recently in its 3rd quarter market report.
With even more reported under construction, AWEA says the industry is on track to surpass the banner year of 2007, when 5,249 MW were installed, with a total of about 7,500 MW this year (7,500 MW would generate enough electricity to power the equivalent of about 2.2 million homes).
In welcome news for the economy, the industry is also aggressively expanding its manufacturing base in the U.S., creating jobs and fostering investment and growth even in a difficult financial climate. AWEA's report tallies the opening of eight new wind turbine component manufacturing facilities this year; the expansion of nine facilities; and the announcement of an additional 19 facilities.
As a result of recent manufacturing investment, AWEA estimates, the share of domestically made components in wind turbines has risen from about 30% in 2005 to 50% today. The new facilities will create an estimated 9,000 jobs.
Based on AWEA projections for the remainder of the year, 2008 will mark the fourth year in a row that new wind capacity installations have set records, but that is not expected to continue next year. With some 8,000 MW already under construction for completion this year or next, the wind industry remains relatively strong. But because of the late extension of the wind production tax credit and the evolving financial crisis, new construction starts are expected to slow in 2009.
The steps that the new Administration and Congress take to promote renewable energy will therefore be critical. Long-term, stable policies are needed to take full advantage of the industry's role in stimulating job creation and economic development, and to support growth of domestic turbine and component manufacturing, which will be one of the leading sources of new manufacturing jobs in the 21st century. These policies include a long-term extension of the wind production tax credit (the recent financial rescue package extended the credit for one year only), a federal renewable energy standard, strong climate change legislation, and investment in new transmission infrastructure.
Let Free Market Decide When Ready for More Wind Power by Todd Wynn, Statesman Journal, 10/29/8
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