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US wind power sector grew by 28 percent in 2012 according to AWEA

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The American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) reports that growth in the US wind power sector has achieved a new record confirming it as a mainstream energy source
US wind power sector grew by 28 percent in 2012 according to AWEA

The US wind power sector grew by 28 percent over the course of 2012 setting a new record and confirming it as a mainstream energy source according to a new report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The report, entitled US Wind Industry Annual Market Report for 2012, was released on April 11th via a webinar for AWEA members and reporters.

The report reveals that in its best year ever the American wind power sector overtook all other energy sources meeting 42 percent of all new US electric generating capacity. Over 6,700 wind turbines were erected producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of 3.5 million homes bringing the country’s total wind turbine deployment to 45,100 with the ability to power 15.2 million homes. This has brought economic benefits to all 50 states through $25 billion in private investment in new US wind farms, tens of millions dollars paid to landowners and local communities in lease payments and property taxes and billions of projected savings for electricity consumers.

An industry analyst even commented that the impact of wind power development was so strong that it caused a noticeable uptick in the entire US economy in the fourth quarter.

“We had an incredibly productive year in 2012," said Rob Gramlich, Interim CEO of the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). “It really showed what this industry can do and the impact we can have with a continued national commitment to renewable energy. We're doing what Americans overwhelmingly say they want: making more clean, renewable energy, and creating good jobs in U.S. factories.”

The AWEA report found that over 550 factories across the US provide parts and services for the sector creating 80,000 American jobs in 2012. The sector also helped to address the disaster-level drought which affected half of US counties in 2012 by saving over 35 billion gallons of fresh water against other water-intensive energy sources.

Job creation was hampered to a certain extent by the Congress delay in renewing the production and investment tax credits but their extension on January 1st sent American wind sector employees back to work. The sector’s future will benefit from the purchase of wind power by 74 electric utilities along with 18 industrial consumers and 11 schools and universities thereby taking the chance to diversify their energy portfolios and lower costs. The PTC extension has also stimulated rising utility interest in renewables with at least seven utilities issuing new requests for proposals to purchase over 1000MW of wind power.

Further information:

American Wind Energy Association (AWEA)

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