Wind power’s fortunes gust forward in U.S.

U.S. wind power capacity grew by 46% in 2007, making it the world’s fastest-growing market in renewable technology for the third year running, according to a new report.


U.S. wind power capacity grew by 46% in 2007, making it the world’s fastest-growing market in renewable technology for the third year running, according to a new report. Wind projects accounted for 35% of all new electric capacity added during the year, and more than 200 gigaW of wind power are now under development across the country.

The “Annual Report on U.S. Wind Power Installation, Cost, and Performance Trends” was released by the U.S. Dept. of Energy and the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. It finds that 16 states had more than 100 MW of installed wind capacity by the end of 2007, with six of those states’ totals topping 1,000 MW.

The growing market is spurring both new manufacturing investments and higher project costs, researchers find. Authors estimate new component manufacturing plants opened or announced in 2007 could create more than 4,700 new U.S. jobs, but shortages of some of those components—along with higher material prices and the weakness of the dollar—are forcing project costs upward.

Overall performance continues to increase, the researchers said, driven in part by taller towers, larger rotors, enhanced siting, and other technological advancements. Additionally, the study notes that wholesale prices for wind power-generated electricity remains at or below those of energy generated by more conventional technologies.

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