Wind Beat Natural Gas As America's Fastest-Growing Power Source In 2012

We’ve talked about why, long term, green energy faces tremendous obstacles in making a substantial market impact it’s too expensive, and too far behind fossil fuels’ existing infrastructure.

But the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s wrap up of 2012’s electric power trends capacity actually shows green energy — especially wind — made some very impressive gains last year.

The U.S. installed a total of 10,700 megawatts of wind power capacity last year.

That was 23 per cent more than natural gas (8,700 mw) and more than twice as much as coal (4,500 mw).

Solar came in fifth (behind nuclear) with 1,500 mw in new facilities.

Here’s the chart (with wind and natgas highlighted).

ferc 2012 power chart

Photo: FERC

American-based wind manufacturers remain undercapitalized — with the exception of towermaker Trinity Energy, which saw an explosive +60% 2H2012 — so it’s a bit difficult to trade on the trend.

The big gust in new wind capacity was partially attributable accelerated installation ahead of the “wind cliff” manufacturers were facing  — the government’s tax credit was set to expire.

But it has been renewed for at least year, which could mean the trend will continue to sail along.

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