Wind Power Beats Predictions

The U.S. will gain 4000 megawatts of wind power in 2007, doubling predictions.© Getty Images

The U.S. wind industry announced last week that installations are projected to jump 63 percent this year, thanks in part to concern about global warming and increasing fuel prices. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), a nonprofit industry trade group, the U.S. will gain 4,000 megawatts worth of wind power—enough to power a million homes—in 2007. That’s double the amount the group originally predicted just a year ago. While Texas, California, Iowa and Minnesota lead the nation in new wind-based megawatts, installations have been going up in every state.

"This is great news because it means that new, readily available, clean generation is reaching consumers at a time when electricity demand and global warming concerns are both on the rise," says AWEA Executive Director Randall Swisher. He believes that wind (now less than one percent of U.S. power) will become a major contributor to the national energy mix.

Swisher would like to see lawmakers support wind power as part of a long-term national strategy. AWEA is calling on Congress to, at the very least, renew its federal production tax credit for wind energy projects. The credit, set to expire in December of 2008, is key to making wind energy projects economically viable. The group would also like to see the passage of comprehensive federal legislation to reduce the nation’s dependence on oil in favor of renewables.

Sources: Planet Ark; American Wind Energy Association