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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.

The 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 Washington DC.

AWEA is the national trade association of America’s wind industry, with more than 1,600 member companies.


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