This morning, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released a new report on the current state of wind power in the United States, including trends through 2011. DOE Press Secretary Damien LaVera highlighted, on Twitter, several key findings from the report.
- "In 4 yrs installed #wind #energy capacity in US has doubled to 50 gigawatts, enough to power 13 million American homes"
- "Industry estimates: wind #energy industry supports 75,000 full-time jobs at more than 400 facilities across 43 states."
- "Wind industry spurs manufacturing: 70% of equip installed at US #wind farms in 2011 made in USA, up from 35% in 2005."
- "Did you know? #wind represented 32% of all new #energy capacity added in the United States last year"
In addition, the report pointed out that wind turbine prices have been falling steadily since 2008; that wind project capacity factors are improving; that a "growing percentage of the equipment used in U.S. wind power projects has been sourced domestically in recent years;" and that six U.S. states now exceed 10% wind energy penetration.
It's not all good news, though. The main source of concern is clearly "the possible expiration of federal incentives at the end of 2012." Combined with "low natural gas prices and modest electricity demand growth," that expiration "threatens to dramatically slow new builds in 2013." Let's hope that doesn't occur, so that the positive trends we've been seeing in the U.S. wind power industry can continue for many years to come.