January 08, 2009
Wind Industry Lists Accomplishments for 2008
by Robert Kropp
Despite the economic crisis, the American Wind Energy Association reports industry growth in 2008
and anticipates favorable climate for further growth.
Reflecting upon a year in which the US became the world leader in wind generation with over 21,000
MW of capacity by September, the American Wind
Energy Association (AWEA) announced the wind energy industry's top accomplishments for 2008.
AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher said, "Wind energy installations are well
ahead of the curve for contributing 20% of the U.S. electric power supply by 2030 as envisioned by
the US Department of Energy." The Department of Energy projection for the wind energy will result
in the creation of 500,000 jobs, reduce greenhouse gas emissions to a degree equal to taking 140
million vehicles off the road, and save 4 trillion gallons of water.
The capacity of
21,000 MW reached by the industry in 2008 will generate over 60 billion kWh of electricity in 2009,
enough to serve over 5.5 million American homes.
Despite the economic crisis, at least 50
new, expanded or announced wind-related manufacturing facilities were noted during 2008. Through
the end of the third quarter of 2008, expansion in the wind industry created 9,000 new jobs in
manufacturing alone. The wind industry invested more than $15 billion in domestic wind farm
construction during 2008, adding thousands of domestic employees in construction and operations. By
the end of 2008, the industry reported 60,000 employees.
Congress approved a one-year
extension of the federal wind energy production tax credit, which enables utilities, wind energy
developers and manufacturers to continue their investments in new wind farm construction in the
U.S. The PTC is the main federal policy for encouraging investment in wind energy.
industry demonstrated its commitment to the environment in several ways during 2008. The Bats and
Wind Energy Cooperative was created to study ways to decrease bat deaths during wind farm
operations. The American Wind Wildlife Institute was created to facilitate timely and responsible
development of wind energy while protecting wildlife and wildlife habitat. And AWEA is applying for
the gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standard for its new office in
AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with
more than 1,600 member companies.