The U.S. wind industry is experiencing its strongest year in history — so finds a new report from the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA).
According to AWEA’s Third Quarter 2012 Market Report, U.S. wind power capacity increased significantly in 2012 — up 40 percent compared to 2011. Overall, wind capacity installations increased to 51,630 MW — enough to power 13 million American homes and businesses.
On the local level, Texas leads the nation in new wind capacity with 1,291 MW added. Other states rounding out the top five include California (1,022 MW), Kansas (836 MW), Oklahoma (734 MW) and Iowa (597 MW). With impressive gains across the country, the United States solidifies its place as a major player in the global wind industry — representing more than 20 percent of the world’s installed wind power.
AWEA’s findings build on the Energy Department’s own 2011 Wind Technologies Market Report— released this past August with Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. While both reports highlight the consistent rise of wind energy in America, they also emphasize the mission critical importance of clean energy policies and tax credits for continued progress.
In particular, the reports point to the Production Tax Credit (PTC) — set to expire at the end of the year — as a key driver of economic growth and job creation within the U.S. wind industry. According to AWEA, the federal PTC for renewable energy — which has been in place since 2005 — helps incentivize more than $15 billion in private investment for U.S. wind farms every year. As America’s wind industry experiences its most impressive year to date, continued support for PTC and other successful clean energy policies is more an important than ever.