Photo: David McNew/Getty Images
Today, Aug 14, the Energy Department and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory released a new report on America’s wind energy market in 2011.The report shows that the US is a leading producer of wind energy, and shows the strong growth of the industry.
The findings of the report underscore the importance of continued policy support and clean energy tax credits to ensure that the U.S. remains a leading producer and manufacturer in this booming global industry.
In the United States, domestic clean energy production and manufacturing competitiveness work hand-in-hand. The report finds total U.S. wind power capacity grew to 47,000 megawatts by the end of 2011 and has since grown to 50,000 megawatts, enough to power 12 million homes annually -- as many homes as in the entire state of California.
And as wind energy capacity has grown, more and more wind turbines and components like towers, blades, gears, and generators are 'Made in America.' Nearly 70 per cent of all of the equipment installed at U.S. wind farms last year came from domestic manufacturers, doubling from 35 per cent in 2005.
Technological innovations are helping make longer and lighter wind turbine blades, while improving turbine performance and increasing the efficiency of power generation. At the same time, wind project capital and maintenance costs have continued to decline.
The more energy that wind turbines provide to homes, the less these homes rely on unsustainable energy sources.
As President Obama has made clear, we need an all-of-the-above approach to American energy and the U.S. wind industry is a critical part of this strategy. In fact, wind energy contributed 32 per cent of all new U.S. electric capacity additions last year, representing $14 billion in new investment.
The leader states (Texas, Iowa, California, Illinois and Minnesota) in wind energy capacity are also that states profiting from wind energy.
In Iowa, Keystone Electrical Manufacturing Company has seen orders from the wind industry grow from almost nothing a decade ago to nearly 22 per cent of gross sales, while, at ACCIONA Windpower's West Branch assembly plant more than 100 workers are making wind turbines to sell here in the U.S. and around the world.
Near Minneapolis, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 343 Union facility features a 60-foot turbine tower to help train union members for new construction, installation, and maintenance jobs.
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