CLOSING WIND 2010 NUMBERS
U.S. wind energy industry finishes 2010 with half the installations of 2009, activity up in 2011, now cost-competitive with natural gas; Industry weathers latest boom-bust cycle as utilities move to lock in more wind power at favorable long-term rates
January 24, 2011 (American Wind Energy Association)
"America's wind industry built 5,115 megawatts of wind power last year, barely half of 2009's record pace, but entered 2011 with over 5,600 megawatts currently under construction - and with wind cost-competitive with natural gas for new electric generation, utilities are moving to lock in favorable rates…
"…3,195 megawatts (MW) of wind-powered electric generating capacity came online in the fourth quarter of 2010. That performance was below the 4,113 MW installed in the same period in 2009, but a leap from the third quarter of 2010, when only 670 MW were installed. The U.S. finished the year with a total of 5,115 MW of new wind power."
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"Buoyed by a one-year extension of the 1603 Investment Tax Credit for renewable energy in the final days of the 111th Congress, the industry entered the new year with over 5,600 MW of electric power currently under construction, well above the same time a year earlier. Further projects are expected to start up in time to meet the new construction deadline for the tax credit, now set to expire at the end of 2011. The industry is likely to finish 2011 ahead of 2010 numbers…
"Total U.S. wind capacity now stands at 40,180 MW, an increase in capacity of 15% over the start of 2010, AWEA reported today. For the first time, U.S. capacity fell second to China's; China now has 41,800 MW in operation, an increase of 62% in capacity over a year ago, according to a Jan. 13 report from the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association."
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"With uncertainty over national policies still holding back the U.S. industry, state targets for renewable energy continue to drive wind installations in many areas of the country…The top five states for cumulative wind energy capacity at the close of 2010 all have such state targets…[Texas (10,085 MW), Iowa (3,675 MW), California (3,177 MW), Minnesota (2,192 MW), Washington (2,105 MW)]…
"…Five more states, which generally began tapping their inexhaustible wind resources more recently than the leaders, showed growth rates above 100%. The list starts with Delaware and Maryland, which added their first utility-scale wind turbines in 2010 [and includes Idaho (+140%), South Dakota (+126%) and Arizona (+103%)]…"