U.S. Department of Energy - Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy
U.S. Wind Power Capacity Exceeds 20,000 Megawatts
September 10, 2008
The U.S. wind industry has doubled its generating capacity over the
past two years, exceeding 20,000 megawatts in installed capacity,
according to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA). The wind
industry trade group announced on September 3 that U.S. installed wind
capacity is now at 20,152 megawatts, producing enough electricity to
serve 5.3 million average U.S. homes. The industry hit the 10,000-megawatt milestone in August 2006, just over two years ago, which
means that the industry grew as much over the past two years as it did
in the previous two-and-a-half decades. AWEA expects more than 7,500
megawatts of wind power capacity to be installed in 2008, bringing the
total U.S. wind capacity to more than 24,000 megawatts by year end.
However, the looming expiration of federal tax credits at the end of
the year could cause the industry's growth spurt to sputter in 2009.
See the AWEA press release.
A recent report from BCC Research suggests that the U.S. wind industry
is poised for further rapid growth. With an estimated market value of
$11.2 billion in 2008, the industry is projected by BCC to grow to
$60.9 billion in 2013, clocking a compound annual growth rate of 40%.
Among the companies preparing to help achieve that growth rate is
Vestas Americas A/S, which announced in August that it will build two
new wind turbine factories in Brighton, Colorado, about 20 miles
northeast of Denver. When they reach full capacity in 2010, the
factories will manufacture 1,800 wind turbine blades per year and
annually assemble 1,400 nacelles (the housings that sit atop the wind
towers), creating 1,350 jobs. Vestas already has a wind turbine blade
manufacturing facility in Windsor, Colorado, about 35 miles north of
Brighton, that can also produce 1,800 blades per year, and the company
plans to build another factory in Colorado to manufacture 900 wind
towers per year. The company is also establishing a research center in
Houston, Texas, that will open next year. See the BCC press release and
the Vestas press releases about the Colorado wind turbine factories (PDF 27 KB) and the Houston research center (PDF 28 KB). Download Adobe Reader.