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Even With Economic Headwind, U.S. Still Adds 4,000 MW Of New Wind & And A Dozen New Factories
Joe Romm, 29 Jul 09

Wind 2009 2q

The U.S. wind energy industry installed 1,210 megawatts (MW) of new power generating capacity in the second quarter, bringing the total added this year to just over 4,000 MW – an amount larger than the 2,900 MW added in the first six months of 2008, the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) said today in its second quarter (Q2) market report [click here].

And this is after a record 2008 (see “U.S. wind energy grows by record 8,300 MW“), which in turn made this country the global wind leader. AWEA’s press release notes:

The state posting the fastest growth in the 2nd quarter was Missouri, where wind power installations expanded by 90%.

Missourians know that in order for us to grow our state’s economy and create the jobs of the twenty-first century, we must embrace new technology and advances like the ones presented to us through renewable wind energy,” said Missouri Governor Jay Nixon. “So I’m proud that the American Wind Energy Association’s quarterly report shows no state has capitalized on these growth opportunities more aggressively over the last three months than Missouri has. But that isn’t enough. Missouri will continue to look for ways to enhance our energy supply and independence by using common-sense and cost effective expansions of clean, renewable wind power.”

Paging Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) — your vote is needed on a climate and clean energy bill. As is the vote of members from other fast growing wind states:

Pennsylvania and South Dakota ranked second and third in terms of growth rate in the second quarter, expanding by 28% and 21% respectively.

With growth like this comes more than a dozen new and expanding factories around the country — and the jobs they bring:

Wind manufacturing 2009

AWEA explains what this means for clean energy jobs:

New installations will generate approximately 1,000 construction jobs in Q2 and a projected 4,500 construction jobs for 2009 in its entirety. The wind industry in the U.S. currently employs 85,000 people but could be cut by half without a strong RES in place, meaning a loss of more than 40,000 jobs in an already depressed economy.

And while EIA projects wind at 5% of U.S. electricity in 2012, all renewables at 14%, thanks to Obama stimulus, even that is not a sure thing in this economic and financial meltdown.

While the pace of new wind farm installations and manufacturing announcements is substantial, AWEA said it is seeing a reduced level of activity in manufacturing of wind turbines and their components, a development it termed troubling in view of the fact that the U.S. industry was previously on track for much larger growth and the global wind power industry is continuing to expand.

We need a stronger renewable electricity standard to remain competitive with China which has tripled its wind goal to 100,000 MW by 2020.

The U.S. is the only developed country without an RES in place. And if the RES as it stands in the House climate bill is not strengthened, the U.S. risks losing 75% of the global wind jobs overseas.

For now, though, let’s celebrate an industry that is adding jobs in these troubled times: It’s STILL braggin’ time for wind!

This piece originally appeared in Climate Progress.

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More jobs, cleaner energy, it's a win-win situation. Not to mention the fact that the US is slowly weaning itself off foreign oil. The green industry is growing quicker than any other industry in the country right now - it doesn't hurt that the government is injecting billions of dollars into green projects, that's for sure.

Posted by: Penny on 12 Aug 09

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