U.S. Wind Industry Manufacturing Expanded in 2009, Says AWEA

April 14, 2010

Photo of round sections of wind turbine rotors in a factory, awaiting assembly.

Wind turbine rotor parts await assembly at Clipper Windpower's manufacturing plant in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Credit: Clipper Windpower

U.S. wind energy industry manufacturing continued to grow in 2009 although at a slower rate than in 2008, according to an April 8 report by the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). Overall, 10 new manufacturing facilities came online in the United States in 2009, 20 more were announced, and nine facilities were expanded. The largest expansion was in the manufacture of wind turbine sub-components, such as bearings, electrical components, and hydraulic systems. In addition, seven manufacturing facilities for small wind turbines were opened, announced, or expanded in 2009. From 2007 to 2009, the U.S. wind energy industry opened, announced, or expanded more than 100 manufacturing facilities, bringing the total number of U.S. manufacturing facilities for wind turbine components to more than 200. All 50 states now employ people in the wind industry, according to AWEA.

The number of people employed in the U.S. wind power industry is currently about 85,000 workers. The jobs include turbine component manufacturing, construction and installation of wind turbines, wind turbine operations and maintenance, legal and marketing services, transportation and logistical services, and more. According to the AWEA report, GE Energy remains tops in U.S. wind turbine sales, NextEra Energy Resources continues to lead in wind farm ownership, and Xcel Energy continues to lead utilities in wind power usage. AWEA also updated its tally of new wind generating capacity installed in the United States in 2009, raising the total to 10,010 megawatts, up from the 9,922 megawatts reported by AWEA in January. That made 2009 a record year for the U.S. wind energy industry, installing enough wind energy to power about 2.4 million average U.S. homes. See the AWEA press release and an excerpt from the full report (PDF 371 KB). Download Adobe Reader.