U.S. government says ‘consistent policy’ key to wind energy growth

» By | Published 13 Aug 2013

WashingtonThe wind industry is the fastest-growing source of power in the United States and employs over 80,000 American workers, two new government studies show.

“The tremendous growth in the U.S. wind industry over the past few years underscores the importance of consistent policy that ensures America remains a leader in clean energy innovation,” Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said in an accompanying press release.

Moniz’ reference to the importance of consistent policy contrasts with many European countries where governments are cutting or changing their renewable energy policies, creating massive uncertainty in the wind sector and putting growth at risk.

The U.S. press release said that President Barack Obama’s recent Climate Action Plan makes clear that the growth of clean, renewable wind energy remains a critical part of an energy strategy that reduces harmful greenhouse gas emissions, diversifies the U.S. energy economy and brings innovative technologies on line.

“The Obama Administration has committed to another doubling of the renewable electricity generation from energy resources like wind power by 2020,” it said, adding that, in 2012, wind energy became the number one source of new U.S. electricity generation capacity for the first time – representing 43% of all new electric additions and accounting for $25 billion in U.S. investment.

The press release also noted that “the tremendous growth in the overall U.S. wind industry has led directly to more American jobs throughout a number of sectors and at factories and power plants across the country.”

More than 13 gigawatts (GW) of new wind power capacity were added last year to the U.S. grid, bringing the total to over 60 GW— representing capacity to power more than 15 million homes each year.

The studies were the 2012 Wind Technologies Report and the 2012 Market Report on Wind Technologies in Distributed Applications.