U.S. Wind Industry Takes Global Lead
February 3, 2009
The U.S. wind energy industry broke another global record in 2008 by installing 8,358 megawatts (MW) of new capacity, bringing our nation’s total wind energy capacity to 25,170 MW. The United States now claims the largest wind energy capacity in the world, taking the lead from Germany, which had 23,903 MW at the end of 2008. The rapid growth breaks all previous records; installed wind capacity grew by 50%, continuing the industry’s swift growth of recent years.
The wind energy industry’s rapid expansion once again demonstrates the potential for wind energy to play a major role in providing our nation with clean, inexhaustible, domestically produced energy while bolstering our nation’s economy. According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), the wind energy industry channeled approximately $17 billion into the U.S. economy in 2008 and employed about 85,000 workers. More than 55 wind equipment manufacturing facilities were announced or opened in 2008. Wind energy now produces enough electricity to power approximately 7 million households while avoiding nearly 44 million tons of carbon emissions—the equivalent of taking more than 7 million cars off the road.
Texas still leads the nation’s wind energy installations with a total capacity of 7,116 MW, followed by Iowa with 2,790, California with 2,517, Minnesota with 1,752, and Washington with 1,375. For information on U.S. wind energy capacity by state, visit www.awea.org.